Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice 2010


 

 
In the Northern Hemisphere, this year’s Summer Solstice began on June 21st, 2010 at 7:28 AM EDT.



 
The word “solstice” derives from a combination of Latin words meaning "sun" (sol) and "to stand still." (sistere) This was termed by ancient observers that noticed that as the days lengthen the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky.



 
As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year.



 
Various civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of Summer. Although it is known to us as the Solstice, it was also called The Midsummer, St. John's Day, and the Wiccan Litha.

 
The Celts and Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing and bonfires to help increase the sun's energy.

 
The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.

 
The Japanese call their celebration Setsubun.

 
In the Hindu calendar, this solstice is named Dakshinayana.

 
What has been considered the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids' celebration of the day as the "Wedding of Heaven and Earth” which has resulted in the present day belief of a "lucky" wedding in June.

 
Even today, this celestial event is still celebrated around the world, most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise.



 
Pagan Spirit Gatherings are also common in June, when groups assemble to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn.

 
Did you know?

 
  • The Sun will not set at the North Pole today as there will be 24 hours of sunlight.

 
  • Pagans called the Midsummer Moon the "Honey Moon" for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice.

  • Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.


  • Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called “Chase Devil” which is known today as St. John's Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.

2 comments:

  1. Thought you might like my King Arthur's Summer Solstice at Stonehenge machinima film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wuNE5M01ME Bright Blessings, elf ~

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