Estonians are quite superstitious and have many beliefs related to midsummer and especially bonfires. As a bonfire might be hard to come across this year, light a candle or two. The fire and smoke will give you strength for the coming summer and year. It also brings relief to injuries and back pains.
Another thing special about the St John's Day, is the dawn. You can feel the dewy grass under your toes. The dew has magical powers: use it to wash your face to gain beauty, or turn a somersault on the ground to avoid back injuries. You can also collect the dew in a small bottle and take it home with you. Store it out of direct sunlight and you can use it for up to 50 years and it will not lose its magical powers.
Before heading to bed in the morning, collect nine different flowers from the meadows and forests. You should do this alone and secretly for the magic to work. Place the flowers under your pillow and you will see your future love in your dream. True story!
When looking for flowers, keep your eyes open for sõnajalaõis, a mythical fern blossom, It is a common misconception that ferns don't bloom, but actually they do, once every year. And yes, you guessed it right, ferns bloom on St John's Eve, but only for a short moment. You should be totally focused on this mission, as if you get distracted you will miss your chance. The one who finds the fern flower will instantly gain wealth, find love, and will understand the secret languages of animals.
Last, but not least – check the sky for signs of rain. If it does not rain in the night it will bring everyone good luck! So cross your fingers!
Enjoy and have fun
Most importantly, Jaanipäev is about having a good time. Dance and sing along to Estonian pop music, nostalgic schlagers, and mesmerising folk music. Also, as this is the shortest night of the year, sleeping is optional.
If possible, go to a sauna. In the sauna, you should use a traditional viht, a broom made of leafy birch branches, to gently beat yourself and stimulate your skin. It relaxes your muscles and feels good, believe it or not.
A top tip: a sauna might be hot, but do not forget to follow the general safety guidelines. Wash your hands regularly and keep a distance.
Find a friend in Jaan
There are almost 5000 men named Jaan in Estonia
. So you are bound to meet a Jaan while staying in Estonia. Jaan is the Estonian version of John and Jaanipäev (St John's Day) is the day of the Jaans. Famous Jaans include Jaan Tõnisson (politician), Jaan Poska (politician), Jaan Teemant (politician), Jaan Kross (writer), Jaan Koort (sculptor), Jaan Kaplinski (poet), Jaan Pehk (musician), and Jaan Tätte (artist), to name but a few. So go and find yourself a Jaan on Jaanipäev!