Saint John's Day - Midsummer's Day
Midsummer is based on an ancient celebration in Europe that goes back thousands of years to pre-Christian times. It celebrates summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It is most important in northern European countries where the days are especially long this time of year, but it is celebrated all around the continent. When Christianity began to gain popularity in Europe, the date was set as St. John’s Day so people could continue their celebrations. This version of the holiday celebrates St. John the Baptist, who famously baptized Jesus Christ. Today some countries call it St. John’s Day and some call it Midsummer’s Day, but the celebrations are relatively similar. Though there are differences in the way different countries celebrate, most include bonfires, which are lit in a communal area so everyone in the community can get together to celebrate. In many countries there are unique traditions and superstitions that go along with the bonfire lighting.