Paula Hofherr, 16.06.2020

Summer solstice bonfires

Fire-art with a long tradition

Starting in the 14th century, people have been lighting fires in the mountains on the eve of St. John's day. St. John goes back to John the Baptist.
The legends say that people dance around the fire on this night to chase off evil spirits and to be spared from diseases and storms.

Mountains on fire

During the summer solstice, always around the 3rd Saturday in June, the mountains in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena are literally set on fire.

One spectacular fire motive after the other make the Ehrwald-Lermoos-Biberwier valley basin shine in a very special light. The main focus is always on tradition and customs. The symbols from mythology and faith are designed months in advance.
The locals, who take part in the mountain fires, do not only have to think of new motives each year but they also have to measure everything and distribute the firewood perfectly so the motives are easily recognizable all the way down from the valley. Up to 700 sacks per symbol, filled with sawdust and rapeseed oil, have to be transported up to 2,000 metres above sea level using only one's legs.
The bags are then arranged according to the design on the day of the mountain fire and lit up at 22.00.

And so this year once again, on June 20th, get out of the house and gaze at the mountains on fire!

Sonnwendfeuer in Tirol
Thomas Koch, Bergfeurer aus Lermoos

“The most beautiful summer solstice-moment was when I climbed to the summit early in the morning a few years ago to arrange the firewood. Suddenly there was this incredible sunrise. I got down on my knees, it was so moving.“

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