Midsummer Day

Due to its nature of being influenced by the culture of pre-Christian, the Midsummer Day has been long regarded as a form of paganism in essence. It is basically a celebration held during the summer solstice when the day is longer than usual and the night is in its shortest span. Some prefer to hold the even on June 21st but this date is not quite accurate because it is not the longest day. Some others prefer holding it on June 24th, which was the date of the solstice according to classic Roman tradition.

Midsummer Day

Short Historical Background to the Midsummer Day

Midsummer Day, thanks to its longstanding background, was merely a moment when ancient people celebrated the natural occurrence of summer solstice, an astronomical event in which the earth tilts toward the sun, causing the day to become longer than average period and the night is then consequently cut into a lot shorter time.

Owing to the fact that the Midsummer Day is pagan in nature, once the Christianity had spread across Europe, it was then incorporated to the religion and was turned into an even commemorating John the Baptist’s birthday. That is why in some part of the Europe, the Midsummer also comes as Saint John’s Day. The date given to this event was determined to be June 24th, exactly one month prior to the nativity of Jesus Christ. This is in line with what is read in the Gospel of Luke 1: 26 and 1: 36, whereupon mentioned that Christ was born six months after John. This is of course a subject of questionable nature because the actual date of Christ’s and John’s birthday is nowhere to be found within the Bible.

Midsummer Eve's Night

What is the Midsummer Day’s Eve?

Contrary to what nowadays’ people seem to believe, the celebration was first not focused on the day itself. The event was centered upon the night prior to the summer solstice taking place. This is because in the past, pagans followed the lunar calendar. They calculated that a new day begins by the night so the celebration was observed during the night rather than the day.

Today, Midsummer Day is one of the most-celebrated events in some countries in Europe. This event’s popularity is only comparable to that of the Walpurgis Night, New Year’s Eve, and the Christmas Eve.

Superstitions Surrounding the Midsummer Day

The fact that Midsummer Day has its root way back to the ancient times has also lent many mythical stories following the celebration. People often pick up bright-colored flowers (especially yellow ones) on the night the event takes place. These flowers include St. John’s Wort or calendula, commonly considered plants whose healing energy is powerful.

Bonfire is also lit by the celebrators, basing the tradition on the ground that the fire from it may ward off evilness thought to abound during this Midsummer night. Some traditions even believed that the bonfire is also a means of expelling the dragons that turned up during the Eve, pouring poisons into the wells and springs. On a much darker tone of story, witches are also thought to have communed in this night, gathering with other beings with higher power.

Midsummer Fire Festival

A Midsummer Fire Festival marks the change in season where the day spans the longest while the night shrinks to its shortest. It normally commences during the night, soon after the sun sets.

The significance of the use of fire in this festival dates back in time when Midsummer is something ancient pagans started long ago. Usually, the fire presents in the shape of bonfire, lit in the middle of a field, around which the celebrators feast and have a great moment with foods and beverages. However, the presence of this bonfire does not merely exist as it is. It symbolizes something else; something which holds a close meaning to the superstition revolving around the celebration itself.

Midsummer Fire Festival

A Midsummer Fire Festival signifies the wish of the people who hold this celebration to be able to drive away the evilness that is said to have roamed the world so freely during the Night. In this sense, it can be said that the fire may purify the world and its dwellers so that they can be freed from everything that is bad and in the years to come, they may get all the lucks in leading their life.

At some parts of European land, the bonfire is also equipped with a mock witch made of clothes and all that is placed on top of the bonfire. Upon getting lit up, the mock witch also burns, signifying the loss of evil power.

The Midsummer Fire Festival also bears another symbol in some part of countries celebrating it. The bonfire is lit as a sign of gratefulness for the goodly harvest people obtain throughout the year. The fire is then jumped over by the people surrounding it.

Another story gives rise to the tradition of having a bonfire. It was thought that during the Midsummer Night (that also goes by the name of St. John’s Day) a dragon flies and poisons all bodies of water, including the wells and the springs, from which people may use the water for daily use. The bonfire is said to be capable of driving away the dragon so life can be salvaged in the end.