I’m off to a wedding held in a meadow. Maybe I’ll have some photos to post when I return. Until then, I’m focused on the newness of Summer. Ahhh. It feels great!
Summer Solstice—an important day for the relationship between the earth, and the sun. On this day, the earth axis tilts the most toward the sun (about 23.5 degrees from it’s orbital plane.) Without planet earth tilting, we’d live in perpetual twilight (unless at the north or south pole—where we’d be in perpetual light, or darkness.) In the Northern hemisphere, today is the longest day of sunlight.
Summer Solstice is also known as Midsummer—celebrated since the time of the Vikings, by visiting healing water wells, and making large bonfires to ward away evil spirits. Visits to water wells have been replaced to trips to the beach, if they’re close by. Bon fires are part of the Midsummer tradition worldwide, with the exception of Sweden and parts of Finland. In Sweden, they instead focus their attention on raising and dancing around the maypole. The earliest historical mention of the maypole in Sweden is from the Middle Ages. Midsummer came out of an ancient fertility festival, and even though Midsummer maintained many of its pagan traditions, the church later adapted it into St. John’s Day. On Midsummer, there’s sure to be folk costumes, singing and dancing, eating and drinking—and wildflower wreaths worn on heads. If you’re so inclined, pick some wildflowers and tuck them under your pillow and hope you’ll dream about your future spouse.
My mom recalls a story shared to her by her grandmother, Jenny, from Sweden. When Jenny was 15, she stuffed her bed pillows under her bed sheets to make it look as if she were still sleeping there. Then, before dawn, she stole out of her home to go celebrate Midsommar. Jenny danced all day long with Hugo, who would become her husband.