An old tradition of burning of any objects that are regarded as sinful or immoral, as if a bonfire fueled by the condemned objects would erase the social problems associated with them.
The most infamous of such bonfires took place on February 7, 1497. The extremist Catholic priest Girolamo Savonarola organized a great public burning in Florence, a burning of what he saw as the frivolities of the Medici reign, and in particular that of Lorenzo de' Medici, whom Savonarola blamed for decadence and immorality (which the zealous priest defined as any art that did not portray Jesus or anything Biblical; nudity and paganism in contemporary art irked his one-track mindset).
While prostitutes were beaten and gay men were burned alive on his orders, Savonarola's campaign centered on the burning of books, paintings, sculptures, cosmetics, wigs, fancy clothing, mirrors, jewelry, masks, playing cards, scripts of secular songs, musical instruments, anything that Savonarola deemed extravagant.

A "bonfire of the vanities" can be as a metaphor to refer to the censorship or ban on "controversial" materials.
The Bonfire of the Vanities was the result of a moral panic provoked by an extremist monk who was horrified by the nudity and pagan/secular images that were appearing in art as well as the perceived extravagance of the Medici, the family who ruled Florence and who was leading this artistic Renaissance and who Savonarola blamed for the economic and social problems that were beginning to plague the city. Any art or literature that he deemed "immoral" had to go.

Eventually, Savonarola's campaign turned against him and he was executed, but his example of censorship is one to be remembered as that matter is discussed.
by Lorelili August 01, 2011
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To lie on your back and light your bushy pubic hair on fire, then patting it out before it burns your genitals. It is best done with friends who also have a huge bush.
Brian: "Hey, this room smells like dog shit"

Brad: "Sure does, we just had a Bonfire of the Vanities"

Brian: "You asshole"

Entire room: "hahahahaha"
by that guy who hates me May 05, 2011
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A movement among christians that seeks to take control of the government and then burn everything they think is sinful such as books on evolution,porn,musical instruments,playing cards,makeup,ladie's longera,birth control pills and devices,women's pants,bikinis,psychology books,high heel shoes,computers,tvs,and all music except gospel,some country and bluegrass ect.
by Deep blue 2012 August 15, 2010
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