Summer Solstice
Midsummer
Litha
St. Johns Feast Day

 

June 21st represents all that is beautiful about summer. 

The fields are heavy with plants just starting to bear fruit, the sun is high in the sky, warming everything.  These are the heavy days of summer that leave us feeling lazy in our hammocks.    

The Summer Solstice Dawn at Stonehenge
The Summer  -  at Allposters.com

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, with the sun staying out longer than any other day.  After the solstice, the days shorten, as we move toward the summerís end and on to the Autumnal Equinox and then Samhain.

Solstitial celebrations still centre upon 24 June, which is no longer the longest day of the year. The difference between the Julian calendar year (365.2500 days) and the tropical year (365.2422 days) moved the day associated with the actual astronomical solstice forward approximately three days every four centuries, until Pope Gregory XIII changed the calendar bringing the solstice to around 21 June. In the Gregorian calendar, the solstice moves around a bit but in the long term it moves only about one day in 3000 years.  -     Wikipedia

In pagan communities, the plants of midsummer were believed to be the most potent and were gathered with rituals and rites that would lend abundance to the village or area. 

Some have the custom of standing beneath the sun at full noon, to absorb its light and heat for the growing season ahead.  To feel the sun meant abundance and hope.

Festivities included the lighting of bonfires, dancing round them, leaping the crops to encourage growth, desire and courtship were considered lucky at this time as well as fertility enhanced. 

Wicca and Other Pagan Traditions

Litha is one of the eight solar holidays or sabbats observed by Wiccans, though the New Forest traditions (those referred to as British Traditional Wicca) tend to use the traditional name Midsummer. It is celebrated on the Summer Solstice, or close to it. The holiday is considered the turning point at which summer reaches its height and the sun shines longest. Among the Wiccan sabbats, Midsummer is preceded by Beltane, and followed by Lughnasadh or Lammas.  -     Wikipedia

Vernal Equinox

 © J Thompson