Rival Bonfire


“A festival that I loved at [boarding school] was our bonfire night. It was so weird though because our grade had the absolute worst luck. For 3 out of the 4 years of high school, we weren’t able to do it. The first two years it was raining on the day the bonfire was scheduled, then we finally got to do it junior year, but then senior year COVID cancelled it. But the one year we were able to do it was really fun!

Essentially, the bonfire happens after the pep rally the night before our [rival school]’s Day, which is basically our biggest sports event of the year where we spend the entire day just doing fall sports against our rival school. Their mascot is literally a door. Which is so goofy, like they are just asking to be made fun of. Anyways, during the pep rally, our mascot breaks down the door painted in their colors, and then afterwards we all go outside and light fire to the wood from the door. Its really fun, there was music, hot chocolate, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. And curfew was extended which is always a plus.”


AH is a current college student, and attended a new england preparatory boarding school for high school. 

“Well, I first heard about it from all of the older students freshman year leading up to what was supposed to be our first bonfire night. They all just said it was so much fun.

To me, it’s really just about school spirit and community. That entire week there are events going on that are super fun, which just encourage us to really like the school (which is sometimes hard when you’re constantly on the grind) and just get us in the mind set for the sports day.”


This is a celebration of community. It is a cyclical folk festival as it happens once a year in the Fall athletic season. It is really interesting to see miscellaneous events such as these at schools because they don’t have much to do with education, and instead are solely focused on interpersonal life and relationships. This event is also essentially a celebration of the athletes in the community, and their accomplishments. It is a notable pattern that many communities, regardless of original or main intent, always resort to celebration of athleticism. At jobs there are often recreational sports leagues and even countries play sports against each other. All typically culminating, with celebration. This is a phenomenon of folk all around the world, and it is interesting to see it on even such a small scale as an academic institution with a supposed focus on education.