Solemnity of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist (and another Name Day for us!)

st john the baptist leapt in her womb

And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.  ~ Luke 1:41

John the Baptist is the only saint for whom we celebrate both his birth and death. In medieval times, Midsummer’s Day festival was celebrated. After Christianity became adopted in Britain, the festival became known as St John’s day and was still celebrated as an important day in the church calendar; the birthday of St John the Baptist, cousin  to Jesus Christ and the herald of his coming. John the Baptist greeted Christ while they were both still in the womb. His birthday is exactly six months before Christmas, and is linked to the summer solstice, the longest day in the year. The tradition of lighting a bonfire on St. John’s Day is said to go back to the idea that Elizabeth lit a fire as a beacon to tell the news that her child, John the Baptist, had been born. In Ireland, the ashes of the ‘St. John’s fire’ are regarded as having a special quality, and are spread on the fields to ensure good crops.

St. John preached a baptism of repentance, preparing the people for Christ. He drew strength from living a penitential life in the desert.

4x5 original
4×5 original

And the same John had his garment of camels’ hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins: and his meat was locusts and wild honey. ~ Matthew 3:4

Today is also our son, Jon’s, name day (you can read more about name days at our previous blog post). So he gets to choose dinner (chicken parmigiana) and use the ‘red plate‘ tonight. And maybe we’ll celebrate with a bonfire and some Grasshopper Brownie bars for dessert! Happy Name Day, Jon!

red plate

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