Saint John`s Fires Saint John`s Fires

The celebration for the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist takes place starting from the 23rd till the 24th of June. As many other catholic tradition, the Saint John's Fires has also pagan origin: lighting fires was a celebration to welcome the Midsummer solstice (which falls on the 21st). Fire is the element and symbol of this celebration: in San Miniato people gather together in the historical Centre where they get a "rificolone" (a kind of paper fireflies) and a "mosca" (this is composed by a spike to which a dried garlic is attached with/through a twine). Starting from here people walk on a procession to the highest point of the hill where the Tower raises. There is a panoramic spot at the foot of the Tower where as people arrives they fill up around bonfires. At this moment those who brought with them the garlic throw it in the fire as a symbol to destroy bad spirits and (originally) to secure a good harvest in the following months. From the top of the Hill of San Miniato the view to other hills and burgs is spectacular, the same celebration takes place in other towns and the whole valley lightens up in distance. Recently, in San Miniato after lightening up the bonfires people can also throw in the sky their paper fireflies; meanwhile in the historical centre people take a stroll eating and drinking by food and beverage stands.