Symbols of St. John
There are two main symbols that have come, over the centuries, to be associated with St. John. One of the symbols is the eagle. In the Bible, the Prophet Ezekiel described a vision of heaven where, around God's throne, were seraphs with the faces of a man, a lion, an ox and and an eagle. Over time, each of the four Evangelists (Gospel writers) became associated with one of these four symbols: Matthew with a man, Mark with a lion, Luke with an ox and John with an eagle. It is said that John became associated with the eagle because his Gospel (especially in the prologue) is so theological in nature, soaring, as it were, towards heaven - like an eagle.
St. John's Love
Because of the story of the poisoned chalice, it has become a tradition for priests to bless bottles of wine on St. John's feast day (today). In fact, in our parish, we have the blessing of wine after the Mass, in honor of St. John. Wine that has been blessed on St. John's feast day is often called the "Love of St. John." This blessed wine may be used for special occasions throughout the year.
Here is a traditional way of drinking "Love of St. John" with your family and friends. It comes from fisheaters.com.
When it is drunk on his Feast Day, we drink it before dinner as a toast to St. John. The Father of the house lifts his glass toward Mother and says, "I drink you the love of St. John." The Mother replies "I thank you for the Love of St. John" and then turns to the oldest child, lifts her glass, and says, "I drink you the love of St. John..." -- and on it goes down the line until each has been toasted.
The wine may be drunk as is, out of the bottle, or may be prepared as in this recipe:
St. John's Love (serves 8)
1 quart red wine
3 whole cloves
1/16 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 two-inch cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
Pour the wine into a large saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients. Boil for 5 minutes (this pretty much evaporates all of the alcohol). Serve hot, clinking glasses with the toast "Drink the love of St. John!" I suggest doing this in front of a roaring fire!