23 JUNE : ST. JOHN's DAY - the SUMMER SOLSTICE

About St.John's Day: 

 

Every year on June 23 in the eve, the Greeks celebrate the birth of St. John. This traditional feast takes place in many neighborhoods of Greece with some events that come from the depths of the millennia. More specifically, as it’s getting dark on this day, fires are lighted in certain places burning wreaths with wood and dry logs.

 

In the oldest years, along with the wreaths, the old scarecrows, the old gathered oregano, dried leaves of olives and the weeds, which did not become hay for the animals, were burned in these fires. This particular custom has purely ancient Greek origins, since, along with St. John, the sun of the summer tropics (the summer solstice) is subconsciously worshipped as well.

 

Through the power of fire and the burning of oregano and of other aromatic plants purification (catharsis) comes to people, as from now on the day light begins diminishing, they leave behind everything bad and being strong and cleansed from their sins they start hoping for a better new beginning.  Symbolically, the fires that are lit up are three in a row, which the kids have to jump three times.   

 

        

 

In the evening, when the fires go out, the participants in the neighborhood's events are treated by housewives with sweets and refreshments in order to have everyone a good and lucky year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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