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How to Hold a Lag Ba‘omer Bonfire

…or, “More things that Israelis do and nobody can explain the reasons for”

  1. Drive to a parking lot about 500 meters from your house. It will be full to overflowing, but you can always double park in the access road.
  2. Set up your bonfire 10 yards down-wind from somebody else’s. At intervals during the evening, go and complain to them that sparks from their bonfire are getting blown at you.
  3. Assuming you have about 25 people at your bonfire, prepare 100 baked potatos wrapped in tin foil. Put them on the edge of the bonfire where they won’t get cooked or deep inside where you will never be able to find them. If you’re lucky, about 10 will get eaten. Leave the other 90 in the ashes, still wrapped in tin foil.
  4. If people are still hungry after eating some scraps of scorched potato peel, impale marshmallows on spits and burn them to a crisp in the flames.
  5. Don’t bring any water to put out the fire. Either just go home and leave it burning, or the rest of this sentence has been censored. This is known as “כיבוי סופי” or “final extinguishing”, though I never understood what other kind there is.

    Update: Thanks to Danny’s comment, I now realize that I have been mishearing this phrase for years. It’s actually כיבוי צופים, “Scouts’ extinguishing”. מכל מלמדי השכלתי!‏

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