24 June 2021

Midsummer or the day of the Summer Soltice is one of Northern Europe's favorite traditional celebrations. The exact dates vary among the cultures, but is primarily held close to the summer solstice. The celebration predates Christianity, and has existed under different names and traditions around the world. In Sweden it is called Midsommar, in Norway – Sankthans, in Finland – Juhannus, the Сelts call it Litha, while the Latvians have Līgo Day and Jāņi Day - the 23rd and the 24th of June. On Jāņi, people travel from the city into the countryside to gather and eat, drink, sing and celebrate the solstice by observing the ancient folk traditions relating to renewal and fertility.

In Russia, this holiday corresponds to the holiday of Ivan Kupala (St. John the Baptist), and on this day the people celebrate the Middle of Summer as well. By the old tradition, nowadays the Ivan Kupala Day is celebrated in many countries of Northern and Eastern Europe. Fires lit in the night of Ivan Kupala Day were a symbol and representation of the scorching June sun. Ivan Kupala Day was a holiday of solar fire and its powers of purification and creation.