Fête de la Saint-Jean
The Fête de la Saint-Jean is an annual celebration that always falls on 24 June and commemorates the birth of John the Baptist. Although the popularity of the event is fading, it is still celebrated in various communities across France especially in the rural regions. Whilst originally a Catholic event, the Fête de la Saint-Jean has lost some of its religious heritage over the years and now, it is generally considered to be a celebration of the summer solstice, which usually falls on 21 June.
The Fête begins in the early evening and as darkness falls, it is common to see the lighting of bonfires (known as le feu de la Saint-Jean) and fireworks. The bonfires supposedly represent a variety of things, with various people claiming that the fire is used to burn the demons away in order to bring good luck. Others will say that the bonfires are there to represent the light that summer brings.
A festive atmosphere is generated during the night with singing, dancing and other similar celebrations often taking place during the night, which continues until the early hours of the morning.
The Fête de la Saint-Jean is celebrated in other countries around the world, though mostly in those with Christian heritage. For example, it is a very popular event in the Scandinavian countries, Spain, Hungary and the United States.
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