JAANIPÄEV or St.John ´s day or Midsummer Day is
an ancient summer holiday for Estonians. It is the
most sacred one of them all and is celebrated on
the 24th of June.
There is an old
tradition to go to
Whipping yourself with
birch whisks in sauna
will bring you a strong
It´s common to visit
our ancestors´
Midsummer Day is the longest day of the
year.Only Nordic countries have white nights in
June. On the eve of Midsummer Day, many
bonfires used to be burnt all over the country.
This was in praise of the sun, for the days
were getting shorter and the sun appeared to
be getting weaker, so people would light fires
to strengthen the sun.
Some of the rituals of
Jaanipäev have very
strong folkloric roots. For
example people go into the
forest searching the fern
– a plant that is said to
blossom only on
Midsummer Eve night. The
lucky finder of the flower
may expect great
happiness and welth.
Traditional food used to be
cottage cheese pie and milk
products. Nowadays people
eat on fire baked or grilled
meat, potatoes, sausages.
Besides the traditional food
there is also a traditional non
alcoholic drink that is called
kali. It´s kvass or light ale.
People are all night awake,
everybody party and
don't sleep in this
night.They sing jolly
songs and dance around
the fire. The most
popular song on that day
is Jaanipäev
Link: Fix - Jaanipäev
There is a common
tradition to jump
over the bonfire
A vey fun game is
Gathering on a big
village swing is
another big
Little children are
kept away from the
big bonfires
Round dances are
often played
This holiday used to
be so important
that servants,
shepards and of
course the young
people were given a
day off.
The herd had to be
prevented from
being seen by
strangers, that
could damage or
bewitch the herd.
This is what Midsummer Day looks like in
Kristel Aasa
9th class
Kalmetu Basic School