Feu de la Saint-Jean/Fête de la Musique

Le feu

The Midsummer day is merely in reference to the period  of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on a day between June 21 and June 24, and the preceding evening. There can be a variation of dates between different cultures. In Estonia, Lativa and Scandinavian cultures, is it the most important holiday of the year with the exception of Christmas.

Before the flames

The French will celebrate the Fête de la Saint-Jean or le feu de la Saint-Jean, with bonfires reminiscent of pagan solstice rituals. The association with Saint-Jean was used when the Catholics adopted the tradition.

In my village, this years festival took place on Saturday June 23. The festivities were launched by a drumming group. Even though there was a DJ for the dancing to follow, the drummers stayed to enjoy the festival and to lead the procession at 11:30 around the village for the lighting of the bonfire. A number of people carried colorful paper lanterns suspended on a pole as we walked about the village.

In some parts of France, the event is called Chavande and also known as Fête de la Musique. In some parts of the world it is known as World Music Day and associated with an event that was launched here in France on 21 June, 1982 and celebrates the gift of music. While music is usually a major component to any celebration here in France, it does not take center stage at this local venue.

Dinner space converts to dance space
Apéritif?
Two members of the Drumming Circle
Two members of the Drumming Circle

The idea of the World Music Day was   conceptualized first in France in 1976 by American musician Joel Cohen who proposed an all-night music celebration to mark the beginning of the summer solstice.
The idea was taken up by French Music and Dance director Maurice Fleuret for Minister of Culture Jack Lang in 1981 and first took place in 1982 in Paris.
Since then, it has become a worldwide phenomenon with over 32 countries worldwide having their own celebrations in their own way, regardless of the season.

           Bisous,

Bon appetit!

Léa

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18 thoughts on “Feu de la Saint-Jean/Fête de la Musique

  1. I wish we had more celebration around the solstice in the states. It seems like such a natural and compelling event. Hmm…probably way too many puritans here to allow any of that!

  2. Litha (aka MidSummer) is one of my favorite times of year! Would love to be in France during this time from the images you show! 🙂 I am jealous. lol

    1. It is paradise! I do understand. It took so long to get here and I don’t want to be anywhere else. Thanks for stopping by and keep up your wonderful blog! 🙂
      Léa

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