Saint John's Day

Jun 21, 2023

Annual festivities: The St. John's Feast

The Saint John's Day. I had actually never heard of it before my interest in Anthroposophy and Waldorf education. This is also the fun part of my journey of discovery... because what is St. John's Day actually? Where is it from? and what are the traditions associated with this beautiful annual celebration? I went exploring and figured it out.

Saint John's Day Esther Bennink
Art: Esther Bennink

Date and Timing

The Saint John's Day takes place on June 24 and actually starts after sunset on June 23. Other names for the St. John's feast are the St. John's feast or the Midsummer feast.

The date of the celebration is the birthday of John the Baptist. He was born on June 24 (half a year before Jesus Christ). the name Midsummer Festival refers to the solstice that takes place on June 21. The longest day of the year.

When the Julian calendar still existed, this day took place on June 24, but with the introduction of the modern Gregorian calendar it became June 21. However, the date of June 24 is still retained for the Saint John's Day celebration.

Sint Jansvuren

The Sint Jansfeest is therefore a festival that also has characteristics of the older Midsummer Festival. One of these characteristics is the St. John's Fire, or Bonfire. With this fire evil spirits were chased away for the coming year. This tradition has been celebrated long before Christ in parts of Scandinavia and, for example, Austria.

Nowadays, fires are also made during the Saint John celebration. When these are almost burned out, the children can jump over them!

A year full of happiness and prosperity awaits anyone who dares to do this.

Bonfire Saint John
Art: Smarty

Flower wreaths

Another custom during the Saint John's Day celebrations is making flower wreaths or bunches of flowers. These are woven from flowers that are currently in bloom and worn during the celebrations. You can hang the bunches of flowers on a door.

Ideas for the Seasonal Table

  • Place a beautiful bunch of flowers you picked yourself on the seasonal table
  • Light a tea light as a bonfire or place a fire starter on your annual ring
  • Use sunny and cheerful colors
  • Place flower children on your annual table.

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