Kresnik is ancient Slavic god associated with fire, the summer solstice, and storms. His mythical home, a sacred mountain at the top of the world, represents the axis mundi. Kresnik was worshiped among the Slavic population of the eastern Alps. He is probably the same deity as Svarožiè, son of the Slavic sun god, Svarog, described as having golden hair and golden hands. He gradually evolved into a Slovenian national hero who lives on a golden mountain, sometimes as a deer with golden antlers, associated with the summer solstice. He became known as a mythical king with strong magic, yet still a farmer. With the rise of Christianity, Kresnik was replaced with John the Baptist. A pre-Christian water holiday was probably preserved by association with John the Baptist. Kresnik’s association with midsummer, fire, and rain are tied to St. John’s Eve, when in parts of Slovenia, fires are lit and water poured over the people around them. The washing of sin parallels Kresnik, who creates rain by vanquishing the serpent of evil. On St. John’s Day, many customs retain memories of the Kresnik mythology, like the lighting of fires, rolling of sun-shaped wooden wheels, and young girls called “Kresnice” singing harvest songs. The Slovenian translation for “Baptist” is »Krstnik«, a similar word.
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