Words are Gifts

A Bonfire Night

On our drive through the serene, leafy campus on our first ever visit of the school year. I noticed a ten foot high (it looked that high) planks of used wood piled up into a tidy cone-like shape.

Interesting! It’s a shame I missed my photo opportunity.

“A bonfire?” I asked surprised.

“Yes, I hear there is going to be a bonfire night,” my sister answered, as we drove past.

An interesting celebratory feature. I honestly do not know the purpose of bonfires except…

Oh! When we had our thirtieth anniversary at my high school (boarding) there was a huge bonfire as part of our celebration. We sang our school songs and chants and on our procession had our individual torches which eventually lit the massive bonfire.

In the West African evening heat, the purpose of the fire was definitely not to warm us up. The excitement around the bonfire was thrilling. The chats and bonding with very old friends was igniting just like the splinters and sizzles coming from the fire. We stood behind the metal barriers placed a couple of metres around it, after it was lit.

At the boarding school, this may have been one of their celebrations. Where students could bond and socialise, participating in a ritual together, to build community and carry on the tradition of the school. This rather symbolic one, celebrating Ghana’s Independence anniversary could represent many things.

The burning of something insignificant could symbolise the end or the beginning of an era. Or a revival of what is going on that is working such as “let’s do it better”? I am guessing here and I quite like this innocence I am bringing to this topic because I know I’m going to explore the real meaning and significance of this memorable event. As I was looking at photographs on the free site to choose from, I noticed how striking a bonfire can be and how majestic and controlled it looks. Could this be celebrating beauty?

My young E , whose first year it is at the boarding school, may never have experienced this before, I wonder what her thoughts are about the whole event, too!

3 responses to “A Bonfire Night”

  1. There is something so primal and magical about bonfires, and sharing the warm glow with friends. I think I will add that to my summer plan. Thank you for reminding me of how special they can be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fire is mesmerizing and does have a communal feeling for sure. I love the sense of inquiry you build in this piece. I hope you follow up with what you find out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “An interesting celebratory feature. I honestly do not know the purpose of bonfires except…

    Oh! When we had our thirtieth anniversary”

    I love the way you transition here – you hooked me right in. Vivid imagery and precise description of the pile of wood put me in the moment. Splinters and sizzles! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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About Me

I am am Elementary school teacher at an International IB School in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. I write with groups of writers, such as Teach Write.


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