Each year, bonfires are lit on the peaks of Tyrol to mark Midsummer. This show captivates both guests and locals alike.
The Midsummer bonfires are one of the most widespread mountain bonfire customs in the Alpine region and are lit on 21 June, the longest day of the year. The Midsummer bonfires date back to pre-Christian times. The Celts marked all of the key points in the year, including Midsummer, by lighting mountain fires. These mountain bonfires act as a calendar and indicate periods of sowing and harvest, activity and rest and periods of pleading with and giving thanks to the gods. These fire customs are probably also rooted in legends relating to the sun in which the sun has particular significance in overcoming key moments. People would light fires to support the sun in this role.
The so-called Sacred Heart fires are accorded special status in Tyrol and are lit at Midsummer. Their origins date back to the days of Christianisation when the church replaced the feast of Midsummer with that of the birth of John the Baptist on 24 June (before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, 24 June was deemed to be the day when the sun was at its highest point before this was moved to 21 June). Midsummer bonfires became John the Baptist bonfires. These gave rise to the Sacred Heart fires which have been lit in Tyrol’s mountains in memory of the Sacred Heart vow of 1796 since the end of the 18th century.
The Wilder Kaiser will be lit up on 23 June 2012… enjoy the magnificent views from your balcony ‘at home at the Stanglwirt’.