Awakening Cosmic Energy | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

Yesterday, June 24th, I forgot it was St. John’s’ Day. In Italy, this saint celebration “greets” the arrival of summer, awakening the cosmic energies. Some traditional customs are still alive and well in Puglia as in most regions in Italy.

Saint John the Baptist, the first apostle of Christ, is the only saint whose birth is celebrated instead of his death.

On June 23rd, the longest night of the year, people gather to celebrate a midsummer eve, with a bonfire, music, parades in period costumes, special street markets, craft, fireworks, drinking and eating. In the Marche region in central Italy, the feast culminates in the “Infiorata” a carpet of flowers all over the towns, and in Florence, St. John feast continues to be observed since the medieval time with a 3-day celebration of various street expressions.
According to an ancient belief, on Saint John’s night evil spirits and witches fly around, thus herbs must be hung on entry doors.
In Puglia, on this evening, women collect herbs besides making a Nocino liqueur and prepare a special pasta dish.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Hypericum_perforatum_Carl Axel Magnus Lindman_Wikipedia

Hypericum_perforatum_Carl Axel Magnus Lindman_Wikipedia

In the darkness of this evening, new herbs are gathered to compose the bunch of St. John’s herbs, which drives away the evil eye, brings good luck and, if put under the pillow before going to sleep, calms the person down, bringing sweet premonitory dreams. Many different herbs compose the St. John’s bunch for good humor, prosperity, the removal of the evil and negativity and medicinal benefits: hypericum, also called “cast out devils herb”, artemisia for fertility, rue, mint, rosemary, parsley, garlic, lavender, fennel, lemon verbena, mallows, laburnum, foxgloves, and elderflowers. Crusaders treated their wounds with St. John’s herbs, considered beneficial, so history says.

Propitiatory water is made with these herbs, one can wash and refresh the face, or make a bouquet to gift the special friends who have a deeper relationship with us.

Green Almond - Game Widow - Wikipedia

Green Almond – Game Widow – Wikipedia

The preparation of the Nocino liqueur considered the witches’ liqueur is one of the many traditional customs on the night of St.John’s celebration. My father made it every year, it was very strong, didn’t much like it, but I drank it anyway just to be a good sport. Green walnuts are the main ingredients, they are picked green because it is easy to pierce them with a pin from side to side to allow the alcohol to penetrate the almonds during maceration time, until the night of San Lawrence, on August 10th.
On this date, walnuts are filtered, sweetened, flavored with spices, such as cinnamon and cloves.

Of course, there is a special dish for this celebration, Spaghetti St. John’s style. During my recent visit to Puglia, I tasted spaghetti made with old grain and brought a bunch with me to California, My spaghetti St.John are seasoned with anchovies, capers, chili peppers, cherry tomatoes, and basil. It’s a simple, fast and very tasty sauce. It takes only 10 minutes of preparation and cooking.

Spaghetti San Giovanni

Spaghetti San Giovanni in my California garden

Celebrating my Puglia holidays in America is a thing I do with myself or with very close people who have the same desire to celebrate something different than Americans do. Ciao,

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina with short hairAs a writer and cultural promoter of Puglia, her native land, Valentina’s intention is to let readers feel and experience a new ”wheel of emotions”. She wants to encourage them to visit areas of Puglia not beaten by massive tourism. Through stories of local customs, art, architecture, fashion, food-wines, shopping, she wants them to create their special adventures and live it up in Puglia! Check out her books on Barnes&Nobles:
The latest published book ©The Road To Top Of The World is a travel narrative on short stories of Puglia.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elaine Nieberding
    Jun 26, 2019 @ 21:54:29

    Amongst your most fascinating sting shares, Valentina. Thank you as always for sharing your zest for living. No joy.

    I’m recovering from body clock interruptions from Multiple days of being away from home (working a big expo in Las Vegas –

    And while I experienced much beauty in the hotel designs of the Pallazo and the Venetian… the “real things/places” are so much better!

    Appreciating you,


    Sent from my iPhone




    • Valentina
      Jun 26, 2019 @ 23:01:52

      Aww, Elaine, I hope you recover soon from your body clock interruptions. I know a lot about it, since I have been on jet lag for a while now coming back from Europe. You do so much for people and that’s your reward. I agree there is no place like home. Thanks for the visit 😀I appreciate you as well, my friend.



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