Midsummer, also called Feast of Saint John the Baptist, Summer Solstice, St. John’s Feast Day or Joninės, Kupolės, Rasos in Lithuanian, is one of the oldest traditional festivities held in many countries and centred upon the summer solstice.
In Lithuania, the summer solstice and the bloom of nature have been celebrated for hundreds of years. The history of the festivity surpasses the Christianization of our country. This is why the fest has several names – St. John’s Feast Day or Joninės is the newest one.
It’s not only one of the oldest, but also one of the most mysterious and lively holidays anticipated by Lithuanians. In our country, June 24 is a public holiday, so the feast is held on the evening of June 23, the shortest (or one of) night of the year. It’s believed you can change your destiny and fulfil your most secret wishes if you follow the traditions and find the fern blossom (which does not exist… oops). Well, a big bonfire and dancing till the sun comes up are mandatory despite everything.
Here are a few Joninės events in Kaunas scheduled for June 23. Each is unique and original, so choose accordingly!
From 6 pm to 8 pm, you can visit this little yet full of sounds and instruments museum for free, and get ready for a party together with Kauno Bandonija ensemble right in the heart of Kaunas Old Town. The courtyard surrounded by Gothic period walls will be decorated by greens and flowers, so you can make your own wreath. The museum’s closest neighbour, bar Folkas, is preparing a special Joninės menu for the night.
One of the elements of the 19th-century Kaunas Fortress has been revived by the local community and serves not only as an excellent example of fortification but as a place to be together and create new traditions. Celebrating Joninės here is one of them. On June 23, starting 5 pm, you’ll be invited to conquer an obstacle path, and then, of course, find the fern blossom, make a wreath and sail it away, put together a bonfire, dance with a live folk music band and then a DJ.
The main event is free of charge (fees apply for the obstacle path and DJ party), but you’re asked to register online to guarantee entry, as the event is limited to 500 attendees due to government regulations.
Yet another party in a former Kaunas Fortress structure! What used to be a gunpowder warehouse, today is a community space for the people of Šančiai neighbourhoods and their friends. Joninės will be celebrated here for the third year in a row – it is yet another revived tradition.
Retro music ensemble Randevu will greet arriving guests from 6:30 pm, and then a local witch called Indraja will spread some herb magic on you, as well as serve herbal tea and tell your future. She’ll invite you to sing along, too. Expect fire and smoke tricks, and, of course, fireworks. Searching for the fern blossom? Of course…