The evening of June 22, St John’s Eve, is the eve of celebration before the Feast Day of St John the Baptist. The Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:36, 56–57) states that John was born about six months before Jesus, therefore the feast of John the Baptist was fixed on June 21~24, six months before Christmas. This feast day is one of the very few saints’ days to mark the supposed anniversary of the birth, rather than the death, of the saint commemorated.
The Feast of St John coincides with the June solstice also referred to as Midsummer. The Christian holy day is fixed at June 24, but, in some countries, festivities are celebrated the night before, on St John’s Eve.
St John’s Eve (or Oiche Fheile Eoin) is celebrated in many parts of Ireland with the lighting of bonfires. In Northern Ireland it is termed Bonfire Night. This ancient custom has its roots in pre-Christian Irish society when the Celts honored the Goddess Áine, the Celtic equivalent of Venus and Aphrodite. She was the Goddess Queen of Munster and Christianised rituals in her honour (as Naomh Áine) took place until the nineteenth century on Knockainy, (Cnoc Áine – the Hill of Áine) in County Limerick.