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17th-century poet, Naogeorgus, explained at Midsummer that special straw covered wheels were set on fire, and rolled down a mountain, so that it appeared if the sun had fallen from the sky and was rolling along the horizon, and in so doing, taking away all bad luck, especially if they plunged into water at the bottom. This wheel rolling represented the beginning of the sun’s declination. This practice dated back to the 4th century, recorded as a ritual followed by the pagan community of Aquitaine, France. Similar rituals were described around 530 by a British monk in Gloucestershire. Christians then transferred the tradition to 24th June and rededicated it to St John the Baptist.
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