Saint John, June 14Start the Summer, says Rudolf Steiner:
“The lush growth arouses the impression that,
thanks to the action of the Sun, the cosmos calls the Earth
to open up to the universe: and all this culminates
around the day of St. John.
It is in fact from that day that begins
a regression of vegetative luxuriance … “
“Already the star
that marks the serious season
from the celestial circle returns
and the smoky air for the heat.
Acute among the leaves of the trees
the sweet cicada under the wings
his song vibrates when,
the sun at its peak crumbles the earth.
Only the thistle is in bloom:
females have avid senses
males little vigor now that Sirius
the head dries up and the knees … “
(Quinto Orazio Fiacco)
The Saint whose feast is celebrated is St. John the Baptist. He who in the Gospel came before Jesus as the one who baptizes and who then recognized Christ as greater than himself. Everywhere on this day it is green and flowery. Even in inconspicuous places, between stone slabs and cracks in the walls sprout herbs and small flowers. The red rose, which blooms on St. John’s Day, is a symbol of this feast day, which, within the year, is in precise opposition to December 24th. In fact, June 24th is celebrated San Giovanni: in that period there are the longest days and the shortest nights. Men desire, at our latitudes and even further south, to spend more time outside, to experience the heat and the light of the Sun .They enjoy clear and long evenings. You see the fireflies (or, pollution permitting, they should see each other).
On this day there is an ancient tradition linked both to the desire to stay outside, chat, sing and joke, and to more ancient traditions: the fire of St. John. This was a custom known in all European countries. It is connected to all sorts of popular beliefs: it was thought, for example, that fire purified evil spirits, if the fire had made a nice smoke. In the end we jumped beyond the fire to overcome misfortune and illness.
The creation of the pyre is something that creates and strengthens the community. It is no coincidence that in the old parish registers there was talk of “fires” in every parish. By fire, houses and families gathered around the fire. As it was no coincidence that in the Greek cities burned the fire of the city and that anyone who wanted to go and found other cities, a colony, would bring part of that fire with him.
As we see the fire, the hearth, has a lot to do with the sense of community. We find in Rudolf Steiner that this feast is pure openness to the future.
In short, what did not go the previous year is burned and the cycle begins again with this opening to the new. It is therefore very nice for a school to put this party at the end of the school year.