The feast of Saint John was the most joyous and popular summer festival. That day marked the year’s shortest night and longest day. In fact, in Lithuania night almost never comes on Saint John’s Day: as the last rays of the sunset dim in the west, the east begins to lighten with the first beams of dawn. The night is filled with omens, magic, secrets, and dangers. Large bonfires are set ablaze on hilltops and near rivers.
On this night it is believed that a magical fern would bloom. Whoever will find the miraculous red blossom will be able to understand the language or birds and animals and ALL the tongues of the world! Girls wore wreaths and later set them afloat on rivers and lakes to find out if they would marry or not in the following year.
Unmarried men and women drank, sang, and danced until the break of dawn. They would link arms and jump over the remains of a bonfire. If their arms remain linked, they would wed; if they jump effortlessly, if the smoke does not cause their eyes to water and their shoes or clothing remain unsigned, everything will go well that year: love, happiness and love awaits them. If the smoke causes them to tear, much hardship (tears) will have been borne.