cross-posted from: https://wolfballs.com/post/26252
cross-posted from: https://wolfballs.com/post/26251
The Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:36, 56–57) states that John was born about six months before Jesus; therefore, the feast of John the Baptist was fixed on 24 June, six months before Christmas Eve.
All over Europe "Saint John's fires" are lighted on mountains and hilltops on the eve of his feast. As the first day of summer, Saint John's Day is considered in ancient folklore one of the great "charmed" festivals of the year.
In Scandinavia and in the Slavic countries it is an ancient superstition that on Saint John's Day witches and demons are allowed to roam the earth. As at Halloween, children go the rounds and demand "treats," straw figures are thrown into the flames, and much noise is made to drive the demons away.
In the 7th century, Saint Eligius warned against midsummer activities and encouraged new converts to avoid them in favor of the celebration of St. John the Baptist’s birth.