—William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
First the boring definition: “Summer Solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet’s semi-axis in a given hemisphere is most inclined toward the star that it orbits. Earth’s maximum axial tilt to our star is . . . .”
For those interested in more of the same, turn to Wikipedia, but if you want the fun part. . . read on.
It is sunny outside so we feel better. We have more energy and we are more in balance. No wonder our ancestors found cause for celebration.
• In 2254 BC, The Chinese Emperor Yao, designated the Winter Solstice as male, (Yang) and the Summer Solstice as female, (Yin).
• The Romans called the Summer Solstice, the “Grove of Diana.”
• In ancient Egypt, the Summer Solstice was the most important day of the year because the sun was at its highest and the Nile River began to rise. Being able to predict the flood of the river was so important that this time marked the beginning of the Egyptian New Year.
• Scandinavian countries mark this day with dances and bonfires. The dances are usually around a maypole.
• For the Celts Summer Solstice is also known as Litha. Summer for them begins on Beltane (May 1st) and ends on Lughnassadh (August 1st) with the Summer Solstice midway between the two, marking MID –Summer. Those who celebrate Litha wear garlands or crowns of flowers in their hair.
• In Ireland, the Summer Solstice, is sacred to the White Mare Goddess, who was known in Ireland as Etain, in Wales as Rhiannon, and in France as Epona. It is also believed that on Midsummer’s night, elves and fairies would appear and if you picked fern seeds at the stroke of midnight, you would be able to see them.
The connection between the Summer Solstice and June weddings:
This was more than just the longest day of the year for ancient cultures. Many associated the prosperity of their crops with the fertility of human sexuality. The connection between fertile land and wombs became so powerful that pagans began to associate the celebration of the Summer Solstice with the time for marriage and the cycle of life.
Summer Solstice, is a time the Celts believed fairies bestowed good luck on humans. It is the time when the sun reaches the peak of its power and the earth is green with the promise of a bountiful harvest.Take this opportunity to celebrate work and leisure, children and childlike play. Embrace your day and the magic and miracles it will bring. Pam