Every 24 June, Latvians celebrate Saint John’s Day. This holiday immediately follows Ligo Day on 23 June. Ligo Day is the main cultural observance in Latvia, and Saint John’s Day is the official feast day of John the Baptist and also called “Midsummer Day“ due to its arrival at the Summer Solstice.
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Many may attend special church services on Saint John’s Day, but the whole two-day celebration is filled with many other festivities. Traditionally, these include song, dance, large bonfires, and the making of floral wreaths. The wreaths are hung in or on houses all year till next Saint John’s Day. And fires at home are allowed to burn past midnight, while others gather at outdoor, public bonfires for much of the night.
According to church tradition, 24 June was the birthday of John the Baptist. It was John who announced the coming of the Messiah to Israel and whom Jesus called “the greatest of the prophets”. This holiday also has public status in the neighbouring Baltic states of Lithuania and Estonia.