The celebration of St. John makes even the most practical person a little superstitious, and it’s because its rituals offer solution for almost everything. This began as a pagan celebration, because the people of the country side wanted to show their gratitude for the summer, the crops, the fruit, and for having more hours of daylight to perform their tasks and also to let themselves go and have some fun.
However, the Christian religion transformed it into the St. John’s Day. Thus, while the Oriental peoples celebrated every December 25th the great Festival of the Sun, also known as the winter solstice, on those dates Christmas was established; while in the summer solstice the greatest regenerating celebrations took place, so that was where the party of Saint John was located.
The rites developed during that night revolve around the elements of nature, specifically: fire, water and earth.
Campfires and fire-related rites begin on the eve of this day to celebrate the power of the sun and help renew energies. The legend says that the ashes of the bonfire cure illnesses. The custom comes from ancient pagan cults that seek to ward off evil spirits, but it is also related to the prevention of epidemics by the anti-infectious power that fire possesses.
Water symbolizes fertility and purity. It is considered that from midnight, water is miraculous and cures diseases. The rites of the nine waves, collecting the water flower or bathing naked in the dew of the fields work as powerful love spells, as it is said that its magical effects help to find a life partner or to have children. As for the land, it is usual that after midnight, people go out to the fields to collect medicinal herbs and then hang them in the windows of their houses to receive the blessing of Saint John.