Today is the feast day in honor of St. John the Baptist, the apostle who christened Jesus Christ on the Jordan River. This day is celebrated in different ways in countries around the world.
As St. John symbolizes baptism, the occasion is often marked with water and so in some countries, people celebrate the day going to the beach to take a dip in the seawater and relax with the whole family. There are also some who celebrate it by splashing water to passersby just for fun.
In Denmark land, the Danes celebrate on the eve of . This day known to them as Sankt Hans Aften (St. John’s Eve) is a traditional midsummer’s eve occasion during which people build bonfires, sing and drink. It is said that ancient pagans in Scandinavia used to light fires to heal their pain and protect their souls on the eve of midsummer.
In reality, though, the fires are just symbolic. This is because when it’s a summer solstice in Denmark country, there really is no real darkness. Nordic states near the North Pole are said to experience almost complete midnight sun in which case even when it’s late at night, they still have light and no need for a bonfire.
History has it that the summer solstice was a time for healing. During this time, people back then would gather herbs and light fires to protect themselves and keep away the evil spirits believed to be hovering around on this particular night.
The Danish people have a custom of celebrating yearly holidays the night before including every June 23 of each year. I’m sure a lot of you were out last night drinking and enjoying a great time eating sumptuous food including barbeques with loved ones and friends whether at bars, beaches and parties to celebrate St. John’s eve.