St. John the Baptist’s Day:  Is the Spirit of Celebrating Still Alive?

Happy St. John the Baptist’s Day!

Anybody got splashed with water yesterday while riding a public utility vehicle or even a private vehicle for that matter?

As every Catholic must know every 24th day of the month of June is the celebration of this feast.  It is not celebrated as a holiday if it falls on a working or regular school day, but what makes this day memorable is that there are still areas in various cities and municipalities, especially in the provinces, all over the world, that celebrates this day.

In the Philippines, we celebrate the Feast of St. John the Baptist by throwing water unto an unsuspecting passerby or unto vehicles plying the road, drenching as many people as they can with hopefully clean water out of the pumps or faucet, but in some cases water coming from foul-smelling canals or esteros.

In other countries, it is celebrated with customs varying from location to location. “Typical customs may include the gathering of the perennial herb St. John’s Wort for medicinal, religious, or spiritual use. The collection of flowers for floral wreaths is popular. The wreaths are dried and hung in the house all year until the next St. John’s Day.   Fires are still important to many commemorators, used to represent Christ’s one brilliant light. While communal bonfires were traditional, many resort to small fires in the home that burn past midnight” (http://aglobalworld.com/holidays-around-the-world/st-johns-day-world/).

St. John’s Day is one of the oldest religious festivals celebrated by Christians.  The day is also celebrated in many other countries as the midsummer festival.  Midsummer is the period centered on the summer solstice.  Summer solstice is the time when the day is longest in the northern hemisphere and shortest in the southern hemisphere.  Originally a pagan festival, celebrations for the midsummer festival date back to the pre-Christian era.

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