We know Estonia
21.6.2024 | Culture

Jaanipäev: A night of bonfires and tradition in Estonia

Text Mark Taylor
Photo Hendrik Linholm

Jaanipäev: A night of bonfires and tradition in Estonia

 

“Jaanipäev”, or Midsummer Day, is one of Estonia’s most significant and beloved holidays, which is celebrated each year on June 23-24. Rooted in ancient pagan traditions, it marks the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The festivities begin on the evening of June 23, known as “Jaanilaupäev”, where communities gather to light a big bonfire, or families and friends create their own bonfires and enjoy grilling in the garden.

The night is filled with joyous activities like singing, dancing, and traditional games, for example a tug of war or jumping over the bonfire. As the night sky barely darkens, people stay awake to greet the dawn, enjoying the magical light of the summer night. Jaanipäev is not just a celebration of the season, but part of Estonian cultural identity that brings families, friends, and communities together every year. 

This year, there are over 200 Midsummer Day events events being organised all across Estonia, which you can find out about at jaanituled.ee.

 

To learn more about this and similar topics
Bonfire Estonian Traditions Jaanilaupäev Jaanipäev Midsummer Day Summer Solstice

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