Le Brandon de la Saint-Jean

Every year in the Pyrenees, celebrations of the Saint-Jean are enjoyed with fervour around a fire, in a sign of transmission and regeneration.

The Feast of Saint John is at the summer solstice, June 21st.

The origins of this tradition go back to antiquity in Europe, to the Celts and Germanic peoples who perpetuated rituals of harvest blessings.
It was these traditions that Christianity adopted and transformed into a Feast of Saint John.

The Feast of Saint John were celebrated everywhere in France. In Paris, a large pyre on Place de Greve (today Place de l’Hotel de Ville) was lit by the King of France himself up until Louis XIV in 1648.

Today the tradition persists mainly in Alsace, Brittany, Vendée and of course in the Pyrenees.

Each region of France has its version of the feast of Saint John. In the Pyrenees and especially in the Comminges the tradition is to burn the brandon (the brandon is a long log, which is split into segments along its length, stood on its end and lit from the base).

In our villages in the valleys of Saint-Béat, this tradition is celebrated in June.

Since 2015, this tradition is part of the intangible cultural heritage of Unesco.

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