Legends of Saint John
The night of Saint John is the event with more relevance in the annual festival calendar, especially in the season of love. There are a lot of rites, legends and traditions in Galicia which were transmitted from generation to generation.
Besides the ritual of ignition and subsequent bonfire jumping, undoubtedly the most widespread tradition of all those associated with this night of wonders and charms, which requires jumping on odd number of times over the flames reciting the prayer “sálvame lumerada de San Xoán pra que no me morda ni cobra ni can” (Save me fire of San Juan for not to bite me a cobra or a dog). The preparation of the bouquet of Saint John, full of prophylactic virtues, in which a number of wild plant species are mixed: costmary, common St John’s wort, fennel, rosemary, lemongrass, rue, among others, that once water is left to marinate during the night, in the morning of the Saint John’s Day, people make the ablutions with the floral aroma. It serve like a protector element able to ward the house from any kind of evil. It is another of the rituals that have come down to us in full validity.
However, this June night is much more. In this night all kinds of divinatory rites get together. In them, you can know the identity of the future husband of the girl in trance. With this goal, the girl puts thistle without flowers labeled with a name of a boy in a cube; the next day she will know the identity of her future husband, that is, with who she will get married the next year. With the same goal you can dissolve an egg white in a glass of water and leave it outdoors, so the next morning you can discover your future husband with the silhouette of the profession of your darling man.
Within the collective imagination, there are a lot of fantastic creatures that can surprise us, stepping out from any source, fort or forgotten cave, like a fleeting shadow. All them are present in this night full of magic and mystery.
But maybe, one of the most poetic legends linked to this night is the flower water, which will cure all the evils on Earth and let you to find your true love if you get it at dawn that morning.
Contents courtesy of Mª Concepción Astray Gómez