St. John’s Eve

Saint John’s Eve, starting at sunset on 23 June, is the eve of celebration before the Feast of Saint John the Baptist. This feast day is one of the few saints’ days which commemorates the anniversary of the birth, rather than the death, of the saint being honored.

Within Christian theology, this carries significance as John the Baptist stating, “He must increase, but I must decrease”; this is symbolized in the fact that the sun begins to diminish at the summer solstice and eventually increases at the winter solstice.

Fire is the most typical element associated with the Saint John’s Eve celebration. The historian Ronald Hutton states that the “lighting of festive fires upon St. John’s Eve is first recorded in the early twelfth century”.

 This image is St. John's Fire by Nikolai Astrup, 1912.
The original resides in the National Gallery of Norway.

This image is St. John’s Fire by Nikolai Astrup, 1912.
The original resides in the National Gallery of Norway.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of writing. I make no guarantee as to its accuracy. Its purpose is to inform, educate, and raise awareness about causes and opportunities around the globe. I also encourage civil debate in the comments.

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