Saint John the Baptist

Saint John the Baptist Quick Facts - NZ

AKA NameThe Nativity of St. John the Baptist, The Nativity of the Venerable and Glorious Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist
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2024 Date24 June 2024
2025 Date24 June 2025

Saint John the Baptist

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St John the Baptist History

The Observance of Saint John the Baptist is a day set apart to honour the life and mission of the venerated Christian figure who played a pivotal role in the story of Jesus. Known for his ascetic lifestyle and his baptising of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan, Saint John the Baptist is a symbol of humility, selflessness, and unwavering devotion to truth. His patronage extends to many causes and places around the world, and his observances are marked by various forms of commemoration, depending on the local culture and tradition.

Tracing back to the early centuries of Christianity, the veneration of Saint John the Baptist predates many other commemorative festivities. New Zealanders have reason to appreciate the virtues embodied by Saint John the Baptist, as they align with the nation's emphasis on community, integrity, and a commitment to moral values. Furthermore, his message of spiritual renewal and repentance resonates across many walks of life, transcending borders and providing an opportunity for introspection and growth.

In New Zealand, the Observance of Saint John the Baptist is marked by a range of customs, from attending special church services and liturgies to engaging in reflective prayer. The day also serves as a chance for communities to come together in fellowship, offering a connection to shared values and a celebration of their faith. The observance falls on June 24th, inviting New Zealanders to embrace the spirit of Saint John the Baptist and all that he represents, both historically and within the context of their own journeys of faith.

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Saint John the Baptist facts

  • In the first chapter of Luke, the father of St. John, Zachary, is approached by an angel who tells him that he and Elizabeth, even though they were old, would have a child. Zachary didn't believe the angel right away, and was unable to speak until after John was born.
  • When Mary, the mother of Jesus, went to Elizabeth to congratulate her on her pregnancy, John leaped with joy in her womb. (Luke 1:44). Mary was pregnant with Jesus at the time.
  • In the Maori language, St. John the Baptist is called Hato Hone te Raiti or Hone Ropata, following the Christian missionaries' introduction of the Gospel to the Maori people.
  • The St John the Baptist Anglican Church in Ōtaki represents the earliest partnership between Maori and European settlers in the region, as they worked together on the church's construction in 1858.

Top things to do in NZ for St John the Baptist's Day

  • In Mark 1:7, John is described as wearing camel's hair and eating only locusts and honey. Enjoy something with honey to honor John the Baptist.
  • Travel to Basque Country (area in north-central Spain and south-western France) or look for a Basque community in the United States to celebrate the night before the Feast of John the Baptist with a bonfire. The celebration combines the feast day with the Basque summer solstice.
  • Watch St. John the Baptist (2005). Directed by Crawford Telfer, this documentary-style film provides an in-depth look into the life of Saint John the Baptist, based on biblical accounts and historical research.
  • Make Quebec-style Yellow Pea Soup, a popular Canadian dish for St. John the Baptist Day. The soup is made with yellow peas, ham, and vegetables.

St John the Baptist references and related sites

Newadvent.org: John the Baptist
Alexander J. Burke: John the Baptist: Prophet and Disciple (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2006)

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