Today is midsummer’s day or the summer solstice, in the Northern Hemisphere this is the longest day. Technically it is when the earth’s hemispheres are closest to the sun, so it is the longest and the shortest day of the year depending where you are in the world.
Midsummer’s day, is St John’s Day ,because he was alleged to have been born on that day, the Christian Church designated June 24 as the feast day of the early Christian martyr St John the Baptist, and the observance of St John’s Day begins the evening before, known as St John’s Eve. These are commemorated by many Christian denominations. Midsummer’s day is especially important in the cultures of Scandinavia, and the Baltic’s. In Sweden the Midsummer is such an important festivity that there have been serious discussions to make the Midsummer’s Eve into the National Day of Sweden, instead of 6 June. It may also be referred to as St. Hans Day.
Pagans celebrate Litha on midsummer’s day and it’s all about celebrating the power of the sun, the earthy is warmed up after winter and is showing real growth. Litha celebrates the fire in the sun so bonfires, flames and sun colours are used to celebrate its heat and fire. The huge bonfire is lit and lots of dancing and singing to honour the fire take place along with an offering to the sun. If you want to join in a bonfire or barbecue with lots of music and laughter will celebrate midsummer’s day in a good way.
You could set up a midsummer altar to celebrate Litha, using sun colours, use candles in bright sunny colours, or cover your altar with cloths that represent the solar aspect of the season. Use circles and crosses to represent the sun and add plants and flowers that bloom in summer. It makes a great centre piece in your house or garden.
Celebrate with the food you eat, try new yellow or orange coloured foods and create a feast, salmon, ginger, peppers and corn, have a meal to celebrate summer and be aware of the changing of the seasons as the night begin to draw in again.
If you really want to join in take a trip to Stonehenge where pagans celebrate Litha every year as the sun rises through the stones and is completely aligned with the key stones.
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