Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Solstice 2018

This is the Summer Solstice today.   It is the Midsummer festival which is often celebrated with a bonfire.  Saint John the Baptist was associated with the festival in Christian times and there were prayers for God's blessing upon the corps at the height of the growing season.  Of course, the festival is much older than St John and dates back to pagan times.  St John was a relative newcomer to the Midsummer event and it was none other than An Dagda, also know as Cromm, who used to bless the crops. 

In astronomical speak, it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere... and the shortest night of the year.  Midsummer is, and has been, a prominent cultural event in ancient Europe and still going strong in the 21st Century.  

Sucellus (Dagda's cognate in Gaul)
Midsummer is celebrated on or near the Summer's Solstice throughout Northern Europe.  Festivals and celebrations are held from 19 June to 25 June.  Midsummer festivals are held throughout Ireland on the weekend closest to the actual Solstice day.  Bonefires lit on the hill tops are a tradition. 

It customary to have a fire on the eve, or on the night, of the Solstice and advisable to run and jump over the fire to evoke the blessings of Dagda.  A toast to the Solstice, to Dagda and to ole St John as well, all advisable.  A bonfire is best, but a small fire in a fire-pit we do splendidly.  And for those apartment dwellers, it is fine to just light the candle and open the wine and make your toast.

So, Shake a Leg and Pull a Cork and Welcome in the Solstice!!!

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