LOWICZ – Sobotki

On the eve of June 23rd, the shortest night of the year, the Poles celebrate St. John’s Eve or as it was known in Pagan times “Sobótki”. Many celebrations include music and dancing, fireworks, boat parades and lighting bonfires. In some regions women were celebrating the shortest night separately from men. Women were throwing herbs to the fire – hoping that it would protect them from evil. Single women make wreaths from herbs and floated them down the river hoping that their future husband would find it and fall in love with them. It was called “Throwing of wreaths” (Rzucanie Wianków), while the men were jumping through the fire to test their strength and courage. Even today the traditional candle-lit wreaths are floated on the Vistula in Krakow during the St. John the Baptist feast – together with fireworks and bonfires to commemorate the holiday.