St. John's Day Festival

Place du Palais
98000 Monaco
Saturday 23 June 2018, at 8:30 pm
St. John's Day Festival with the participation of folk groupsSaturday 23 June at 8:30 pm Place du Palais

Perpetuating a very ancient custom to celebrate the summer solstice, the Church set the date of 24 June as the birth of John the Baptist, a key biblical figure who announced the Messiah and whose testimony is largely based on the light and the Holy Spirit.  On the longest day of the year, bonfires are lit to shine the light of the radiant star into the heart of the night, which, for Christians, marks the victory of Christ the Light over darkness.  With the exception of St. John the Baptist, only two other births are celebrated by Christianity - those of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, demonstrating the theological importance of the Precursor.

In Monaco, this festival takes place every year over two days, in two districts:  23 June in Monaco-Ville and 24 June in the Moulins district.

On the Rock

The celebrations feature two main events - the first is the celebration of a religious service in the Palatine Church, in the presence of elected and governmental authorities and representatives of traditional Monegasque associations.  This church, which is a parish church in its own right,  is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, as shown in particular by the works of art found there - a fresco adorning the ceiling and a painting by the 17th century artist Orazio dei Ferrari, both of which depict the baptism of Christ by the Precursor and are very beautiful examples of Monegasque artistic heritage.  The second phase of this first day of celebration, which is more informal and convivial, consists of a bonfire and folk dancing in the Palace Square.

Although there is no direct link with St. John's Day, it should be noted that 23 June was also the date chosen to celebrate the Monegasque language.  The highlight of this day is the awarding of prizes for the annual competition.  This takes place in the courtyard of the City Hall in the presence of H.S.H. the Prince, the Sovereign Family and representatives of the highest authorities and constitutional bodies.