Thursday, June 24, 2010

Midsummer Day and the feast day of St. John the Baptist

Now, here is a holiday I didn't know about until right now. I wish I had...I would have planned a party.

All over Europe, from Scandinavia to Spain, and from Ireland to Russia, Saint John's Day festivities are closely associated with the ancient nature lore of the great summer festival of pre-Christian times. Fires are lighted on mountains and hilltops on the eve of his feast. These "Saint John's fires" burn brightly and quietly along the fiords of Norway, on the peaks of the Alps, on the slopes of the Pyrenees, and on the mountains of Spain (where they are called Hogueras). They were an ancient symbol of the warmth and light of the sun which the forefathers greeted at the beginning of summer. In many places, great celebrations are held with dances, games, and outdoor meals. 

In Scandinavia and in the Slavic countries it is an ancient superstition that on Saint John's Day witches and demons are allowed to roam the earth. As at Halloween, children go the rounds and demand "treats," straw figures are thrown into the flames, and much noise is made to drive the demons away.

I'm awake early, since 4 a.m., but don't feel like going to exercise. My muscles are sore and I'm draggy. Guess I can take a day off today. Or maybe I'll take my bike out for a ride before school.

Celebrate Midsummer Day and light a fire on your fjord.

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