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by Aldis Putelis
Janis is a problematic deity, as he is mentioned only in close relation with the festival of Midsummer's Night and therefore the name could be an adaptation of the Christian John the Baptist. Still, the festival is completely non-Christian, including ritual bonfires, as known in many cultures, some traces of the cult of phallus can be found as well. Janis is one of deities to whom the description ?Dieva dels? is attributed, still it is an marginal phenomenon. The main action of Janis is coming once a year to grant fertility and fortune, he must be treated properly therefore. There are attempts to explain the image astronomically - as a constellation seen mainly around the summer solstice. Generally all the customs show the features of a passage rite, the threshold event between two cycles, when the original chaos must be turned into cosmos again, therefore the magic activities to prevent the evil entering the house and causing permanent damage. The ritual fires must shine their light as far as possible (therefore to be made on the top of some mountain, on a pole; by the sea made of old boats on the very shore) to ensure fertility, while (especially the young) people shouldn't sleep the night to be good-looking and capable.

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