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Tonight we celebrate the eve of St. John’s Day all over the country. It is the shortest night of the year, in terms of hours of darkness, and the celebrations intend to “erase” the night and extend the “day” until the sun rises again, so huge fires are lit everywhere at dusk, and kept burning all night. The fires are also used to burn old stuff, seeking some type of purification and the opportunity to start anew with nothing old. Students, just off school, will burn their useless workbooks and notebooks. Contributing to the fire should bring good luck, so everyone adds something to burn.Young men show courage jumping over the large fires. They can make a wish as they jump, that will come true if they are not burnt. There will also be lots of firecrackers going on all night.

We are in town this year, so will not be able to enjoy it. In the countryside, it has become extensively forbiden to light fires out of specifically allowed areas due to the very high risk of fires extending out of control. St. John’s eve is exceptionally beautiful at the beaches, because all the fires are lit along the coast, drawing an almost uninterrupted line of light for miles, all night long. Typically, it is the first night that adolescents will be allowed out until late on their own, like a "coming of age" of some sort.

Do you celebrate St. John’s Day in any way?

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Comment by Anne S/ Ont. on June 23, 2009 at 3:38pm
No wonder it's so hot there Carmen! All those fires going! Our longest day of the year was June 21st, the official 1st day of summer.
We have Canada day to celebrate Canada's birthday on July 1st. It is a national holiday. There are parades and barbeques and fireworks.....and probably a few drinks to toast our wonderful country too!
Comment by Annie Zipser on June 23, 2009 at 12:57pm
I call it summer solstice and get tlgether with friends. Where are you located? I am in Michigan.
Comment by Joana Simmers/GA on June 23, 2009 at 12:13pm
When we lived in Alaska, we loved celebrating the longest day. Where we were it was light all night long and people had cookouts with lots of friends over. I remember the guys all playing an all night croquet game and including my son, then 13. He didn't make it all night, but was in the game long enough to run for cover when a mama moose and her baby charged down the hill, scattering the men in all directions. When we were new there, I embarrassed myself to death when I asked where everyone watched the 4th of July fireworks. The guy looked at me really funny and said, quite gently, that they didn't do 4th of July fireworks since it didn't get dark! Instead they did them on New Year's Eve.
Comment by Carol Wadkins on June 23, 2009 at 10:59am
St John's day is a new one for me.......... Sounds interesting enough. I just bet the young people love to be able to burn their useless books!! As for jumping over the fire, I have to say I agree with Pam on that one............
Comment by Pam/NY on June 23, 2009 at 10:03am
We do something similar at our lake on July 4th. We buy flares and at dark everyone lights them at the shoreline. It is gorgeous and than we take turns shooting off fireworks. Great time...We don't let our sons jump over the bonfires due to the fact we want grandchildren!!!!
Comment by Nancy/NC on June 23, 2009 at 10:02am
Carmen, I checked your page & see you live in Madrid, Spain! No wonder most of us in the US have not heard of this custom! Sounds interesting though, & thank you for sharing this with us!
Comment by Sunshine/Mi on June 23, 2009 at 9:28am
St. John's Day is a new one to me, too, but it sounds like a lot of fun.
Comment by Sognstitcher Lana/MN on June 23, 2009 at 9:15am
Carmen, I've never heard of St. John's Day, but it sounds like a lot of fun. What a great way for people to get out and meet and greet. I live in Minnesota, and I think we should start the custom!
Comment by Quiltmom/NV on June 23, 2009 at 9:06am
I have heard of St. John's day, but never knew the meaning or the celebrations behind it. Thanks for sharing. I live in Nevada and we don't celebrate it. Isn't it interesting how we our all on the same planet and our worlds can be so different. Have a great day. Happy Quilting!!!

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