When the longest day converges with the shortest night, summer is welcomed with mountain fires in the Tirolean Alps.
The custom of mountain fires stems from medieval times and celebrates a long tradition in Tirol. Numerous local clubs and associations light their own mountain bonfires on Solstice Night on 21 June to mark the longest day of the year. Shortly after nightfall, these fires illuminate the mountains and create a mystical atmosphere. In 2016 these spectacular fiery scenes with diverse motifs and symbols can be seen on 18 June.
“Sacred Heart” fires are also kindled in many Tirolean villages. Their origins can be traced back to the vow on the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1796, when the Tiroleans united in their battle against the French and Bavarians. In those days, fires were lit on the mountaintops as a sign of allegiance to their oath of devotion. In 2016 these Sacred Heart fires can be seen on the weekend of 3 to 5 June.