Europe

The celebration of the Summer Solstice was held on June 23rd at the “Jää-äär” café and art gallery

July 21st, 2016
Daniel Erhardt, Berlin Global
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The festivity of the Summer Solstice or “Jaanipäev” showcasing Estonian century-long traditions was celebrated at the Estonian art gallery and café “Jää-äär” in Wedding.

The Summer Solstice Eve or “Jaaniõhtu” is the most important evening of the yearly calendar of festivities for the Estonians. It is celebrated on the night between June 23rd and 24th, a few days after the Summer Solstice, a celebration marked by light and the perpetual presence of the Sun.

In Berlin, the beginning of the summer also marks the beginning of long nights celebrating in the open air. Therefore, this celebration was the perfect occasion to learn more about Estonian culture and traditions surrounding this ancient celebration.

The festive activities at “Jää-äär” included the degustation of Estonian gastronomic specialties, including a small barbeque and potato salad, accompanied by Estonian beer and drinks with “Vana Tallinn Liköör”, a popular Estonian liquor featuring rum and citrus aromas. As it is tradition to celebrate this shortest night of the year with singing and dancing with family and friends, the Berliner version could be no different, with guests enjoying folk music and dances throughout the evening.

The tradition of this celebration stem from ancient pagan rituals that have strong folkloric roots.  As part of the shared tradition of lighting bonfires on “Jaaniõhtu”, jumping over bonfires is a symbol of good luck and guaranteed prosperity.

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