Comparison of Portuguese "Festa de São João" and Latvian "Jāņi"
In Latvia, celebration of the summer solstice is oldest and most beloved traditional holiday. The nearly three-day long midsummer fest concludes on June 24th, the day known to Latvians as „Jāņi”. Most leave the cities to gather with family and friends around thousands of bonfires, where special foods, beverages, songs, dances and rituals celebrate the movement of the setting and rising of the midnight sun. Because of this, I wanted to get to know more about Portuguese traditions for these days – Festa de São João and compare these two holidays.
Festa de São João
In Portugal the celebration—Festa de São João—or Feast of St. John’s Eve, takes place on the evening of June 23rd and goes to the daylight hours of the 24th. Porto is the place, where this celebration is the most incredible.
On this night, seemingly the entire population comes to the center of Porto and surrounding neighborhoods to honor John the Baptist and partake in the evening’s numerous traditions. …
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