St John's Eve Bonfire in Alesund

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The Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated all over Europe and parts of the United States and Canada. The Christian holy day was fixed at 24 June, because the Gospel of Luke states that John was born six months before Jesus or Christmas eve, but in most countries festivities are mostly held the night before, on St. John's Eve. Because the Feast of St. John coincides with the June solstice, also known as Midsummer, the celebrations are also referred to as the Midsummer’s Festival.

Saint John's Eve is traditionally celebrated with bonfires. In many countries, bonfires are lit on the evening and people dance and sing around it. In the Norwegian town of Alesund, bonfires are taken to the extreme. The townsfolk build towering bonfires called Slinningsbålet that rises over one hundred feet.

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In 2010, a record was set for the tallest bonfire at 40.45 meters (132.71 feet). The previous record was 37.84 meters (124.14 feet) set in 1993. It takes 30 to 40 people several days to build the huge tower of wooden crates that's eventually set on fire. The flaming tower is built on a small piece of land on the shore so when it topples, it falls into the water and doesn't present any hazards.

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Sources: Wikipedia / Twisted Sifter / Business Insider

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