Want more of the summer festivals in Europe? There is more to come. There is the midsummer, which is a period full of celebrations and festivals. The midsummer is represented by festivities taking place in a period that is centered upon the summer solstice. They are very important in the northern part of Europe – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Latvia and Lituania, but as well they are celebrated all around Europe, in places like Germany, Ireland, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, and many other countries. As from a first point of view it is regarded as a pagan holiday, the Christians have tried to view it as a celebration related to the born of John the Baptist. It can be regarded such as it is six months before Christmas, and it is known that John the Baptist was born six months earlier than Jesus Christ.
It is a festival that exists since the ancient times, and some of the nation’s belief that the plants that exist in that period are believed to be healing plants and are used in different cures. As said before, in the northern parts of Europe it is granted a bigger importance and it is believed to be as important as some other festivals like Walpurgis Night, New Year and even Christmas Eve. Moreover, it is kinda’ a sabbat when the faerie realm is opened to the public.
In each country the Midsummer Eve is celebrated differently – in Austria it is celebrated with a procession of ships that float down the Danube. There are up to 30 ships that float, there are lighted castle ruins, fireworks that erupt from the banks.
In Bulgaria the celebration is known as Enyovden. It si the same day with the day of John the Baptist and therefore the traditions are combined. According to the “folklore” the Enyovden announces the beginning of winter.
In Denmark it was granted an official touch up until 1770. Anyhow, nowadays it is celebrated on the 23rd June but it is a celebration in which takes part just those that like to. The celebration is with bonfires on the beach, speeches, picnics, traditional songs, and some may involve even the tradition of putting a witch made of straw and cloth on the bonfire. This si supposed to keep evil away for the new year.
The bonfires are something specifically for this feast as they are found as well when celebrating in France. There it takes place on the 24th of June and in some regions, this is celebrated with cat-burning rituals.
As Spain is well known for its”fiestas” it could not possibly take this away from its calendar. It takes place in the evening of 23rd and it is characterized by bonfires, parties on the beach, in some parts even special food is served – such as Coca de Sant Joan , which is mainly done for this occasion. This fiesta is held all around the country and in whichever part you may find yourself, you are to have a blast.
As you cannot be in the same day in so many places, there is a good choice to select two or three neighborhood countries and try to get from one to another to seize the differences.