Saint Jonas' Festival
Saint Jonas' Festival, also known as Rasa (Dew Holiday), Joninės, Kupolė, Midsummer Day or Saint John's Day) is a midsummer folk festival celebrated on June 24 all around Lithuania. While midsummer day is celebrated throughout Europe, many Lithuanians have a particularly lively agenda on this day. The traditions include singing songs and dancing until the sun sets, telling tales, searching to find the magic fern blossom at midnight, jumping over bonfires, greeting the rising midsummer sun and washing the face with a morning dew, young girls float flower wreaths on the water of river or lake.
For thousands of years, Balts, the ancestors of the Lithuanians, have celebrated the summer solstice (Rasa to the Lithuanians) by offering sacrifices to the pagan gods, and priestesses light the altar fire. This tradition still continues to this day. The ritual is usually performed by members of Romuva (religion), the church of the ancient beliefs.
When Christianity came to Lithuania, it brought with it the celebration of Saint John's Day and while Christians celebrate Joninės (St. John's) in the local language, Christians, Romuviai, and those with other beliefs all celebrate Rasa together. Lithuanians with the names Jonas, Jonė, Janina receive many greetings from their family, relatives and friends.