The modern word bonfire posibly comes from the portmantu of 'bone fire'.

This is an old tradition of on holy days when a large fire would be lit bones would be cast into the fire to burn.
It was said this would give those around the fire protection from malignant forces.

This works in a very mundane sense as the smoke from burning bones is repellent to mosquitos and other biters .

The ash from these bone fires was also taken home to be used in gardens as it is minaral rich fetiliser.

@solarbear Nah, that can't be the etymology. Far too clear and obvious... *checks etymonline and wiktionary* holy smokes, it is!

Huh. Also, jumping through/over the fire to ensure health/purity/prosperity/fertility is more common than I thought. Not just that scene in The Wicker Man, then

@solarbear this is the same idea Dark Souls had behind their bonfires I believe. It's why A.) You burn things in them and more specifically B.) You can bone dust in them.

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