Midsummer festival - "Jāņi"

on Sunday, June 26, 2011

Here I am again! These time I bring to you lots of nice pictures about my holidays. Night from 23th to 24th june is day when people celebrate magical summer solstice, also known as midsummer. It is longest day and shortest night of the year. In Latvia it is ancient festival called "Jāņi" and still it is celebrated like nowhere else in the world! It is time for national holidays, time for beer and cheese, for dancing and singing, for fire places and time to have fun in countryside.

In past there were lot of traditions and beliefs about this time. Lot of them still is known and used in practice, although most of people isn't superstitious anymore. For example, in past there were belief that in midsummer witches were riding around, but people could protect them selfs by decorating their houses and lands with rowan branches and thorns. In now days people rarely believe in witches, but still there is tradition to decorate house in midsummer time. Also birch and oak branches is used. Women wear wreaths made from flowers, men from oak branches with leaves.

Important part of Jāņi is fire, because it represents sun and light. Therefore people is making fireplaces and they must be kept from sunset till sunrise. It is also best time to gather herbs. There is belief that herbs gathered in midsummer have magical powers.

It would take a lot of time to write all about Latvian midsummer festival old, new and altered traditions, so here is photos :)

There is old saying - "It rains like in Jāņi". And it did!
First sparks in fire place

It found that I can get this interesting effect with my camera

Home-made pies
We found fireflys, lets see can you do that also in this picture!
Next morning and fire is still alive. There is few oak wreaths left on bench.

Cows also wanted to see who I am
House guardian
What country house is without a cat!
Soon it will be raining again
Road back to home


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