Although we have long since entered the summer, judging by the high temperatures, the calendar is still at our door.The beginning of summer is marked by the traditional lighting of St. John’s bonfires. The shortest night of the year, June 24, has fueled the imagination of the human species since the Early Stone Age. Among Croats, of course, this pre-Christian custom is associated with the so-called natural holidays (equinoxes and solstices), and is part of a much wider fascination with the sun encountered throughout Europe. In the ancient Slavs, this event was associated with a deity named Jarilo or Jarovit in some sources who, in order to maintain the harmony of the seasons, must cross the entire tree of the world. During the summer solstice, Jarilo comes to Perun’s mansions on top of a tree where he meets his daughter Mara. Midsummer Night is therefore the night of their wedding.With the arrival of Christianity, the period of adaptation of theology into pagan beliefs began, and so the spring Jaril was replaced by St. Juraj, and the summer St. John the Baptist.The lighting of bonfires is a custom on other holidays such as St. George’s Day, Vidovdan, Ilindan, St. Peter and Paul as a relic of the Sun cult that is symbolically always associated with heavenly fire.From an ethnological point of view, this custom exists on the margins of tradition, but has been actively maintained in the area of Pokuplje, along the banks of the river Kupa and along the Cetina in Dalmatia. Also, as an organized event, it is celebrated in Karlovac, Požega, Đakovo, Donja Stubica and others.”The sun is imitated by the bonfire and announces summer as the most fertile season, calling for a good harvest of ripe grain. The bonfires are thus becoming a symbol of Karlovac’s boatmen who have been developing the grain trade with the Cup for centuries “, point out the Tourist Board of the City of Karlovac, whose last year’s edition of summer greetings was visited by about ten thousand Karlovac citizens and guests.From the given cultural pattern, the people of Karlovac capitalized on the all-day event and offered a rich sports and entertainment program to the visitors. With unavoidable concerts, fireworks and, of course, bonfires at several attractive locations in the city, visitors can expect football matches, street performers and folk games – packed into a story that balances between history and fiction.Photo: TZ KarlovacAt the same time, at the other end of the continent, more than 25.000 people admired the sunrise on an ancient prehistoric monument. The difference from the previous example is that gathered druids and sun worshipers seemingly gather on their own initiative around the ancient stone circle in Stonehenge and by beating drums, singing and dancing, these self-proclaimed pagans make an attraction that can be very independent.Whether organized in some production sense or not, this pronounced spontaneity leaves the impression of an active, relevant gathering place as opposed to the loneliness of a historical monument. Needless to say, how much such access to the place, also maps on the tourist map of the country and makes it world famous.The question is what exactly is the brake in the Croatian case when it comes to the capitalization of traditional elements (with an emphasis on pagan sources)? Lack of motivation or simply we have not outgrown the dogma that some third instance must organize something for us to have fun?In any case, the fact remains that there is no lack of material in Croatia, nor a desire for cultural patterns to survive, but for a place or in this case a custom to become vibrant, they must have a present value in community life. In other words, become a part of it because the real tourist value is not given to a place that has an attraction, but is only part of the attraction in line with its local tradition and culture. These are efforts that depend on the synergy of the entire population, not a handful of organizers.Ultimately, the efforts made can only result in an increase in the rating on the tourist map, economic profits and an increase in standards.Fortunately, the example of St. John’s bonfires shows that we are on the right track.