From the archives

The golden sun so great and bright
Warms the world with all its might,
It makes the dark earth green and fair
And tends each thing with ceaseless care
It shines on blossom stone and tree,
On bird and beast, on you and me!
Oh may each deed throughout the day,
May ev’rything we do and say
Be bright and strong and true,
Oh golden sun like you.
-Author unknown

A tradition on the Feast of St. John is to hold a bonfire. I have
heard several possible explanations for this. Some believe this
shadows Zachary’s canticle when he stated that John would “enlighten
them that sat in darkness.” Tradition holds that St. Elizabeth lit a
bonfire to notify her cousin, Mary, that John had been born. I know
Elizabeth was a saint, but I can’t imagine she had the energy to do
this after giving birth! A third explanation is that a bonfire is lit
to get rid of all the old garbage and to move into a new life, just as
St. John signified the new covenant began by his ministry which
heralded Jesus’ coming.

Of course, if you have a bonfire you almost have to have a summer
picnic! Locusts may not be high on your list, but you might want to
try to include some honey dishes.

Another lovely but lost tradition is decorating the front door with
summer flowers. The traditional decoration is St. John’s wort, birch
leaves, and lilies. I have also heard of families that hang a lighted
lantern outside their homes on this night.