Once common throughout most of Europe, the arrival of midsummer was celebrated from time immemorial by the lighting of massive communal bonfires, covering the countryside with a multitude of glowing points of light; an ancient practice that continued in Brittany well into living memory.
It is believed that the calendar of the ancient Celts was built around the equinoxes and solstices and the relationship of them to the key points of the agrarian year such as the times for sowing and harvesting and seasonal transhumance. The summer solstice, when the sun reaches its highest point before slowly starting its retreat was an auspicious event for our ancestors and one that was widely marked across Europe; from Spain to Greece, Russia to Ireland, communities came together on Midsummer’s Eve to celebrate the occasion with mighty bonfires, imparting to the heavens, in all directions, the pale glow of a man-made sunset.
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