Jun 20, 2016
Jaanipaev: The Midsummer Beefcake Festival of Estonia
The day before, June 23rd, is Võidupüha, Victory Day, commemorating the Estonian War of Independence, and the struggle for freedom of all of the Baltic nations.
People go swimming, have barbecues, get drunk, and most importantly, light bonfires to signify the triumph of summer over winter.
Adherents of Estonian paganism, Maausk, sometimes jump nude.
When it finally gets dark, people pair off and head out into the woods to look for a special fern that just blooms once a year.
Yeah, right, that's what they're doing.
In the Slavic countries, St. John's Eve is like Halloween, a time when the barrier between our world and the spirit world fails, and there are ghosts and goblins running around. Gay Russian writer Nikolai Gogol's short story "St. John's Eve" is about a man who searches for a treasure that can only be discovered that night, but meets the devil instead.
See also: Yuri and I Cruise in Estonia.