Yes, it’s my birthday and I’m one day older. When I was a kid growing up, all I could think about was that my birthday was on the longest day of the year. I had extra hours of daylight to do my thing. In Ohio, my thing was running with my friends until my parents called me into the house. In Nevada, in high school, it was swimming or a host of other things to celebrate the day.
As I’ve gotten older, the day has been spent with a quite dinner, a trip here or there or like this year, a day of writing. Tonight I have my critique group and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It’s one of those simple pleasures in life.
I can hear you all now...what? a critique group a simple pleasure...LOL! It is for me. I love being with fellow writers and I love learning new things about my writing. Critiques can be painful but productive. And everyone needs to make themselves and their writing better.
So what makes today so special? Besides being my birthday. LOL!
Today is Summer Solstice...the longest day of the year...and it has a lot of historical value. Here are just a few of the facts about this very special day:
A solstice is an astronomical event and happens twice a year, once in winter (December 21) and once in summer (June 21). It happens when the tilt of the earth is most inclined toward or away from the sun. Both solstices as well as the equinoxes are connected to the seasons.
Pagans called the Midsummer moon a ‘honey moon’ for the mead made from the fermented honey that was part of the many wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Soltice.
Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with different celebrations. One was a bonfire where couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couple could jump. (I guess Michael Jordon would have had stellar crops...LOL!)
Midsummer was considered to be a time of magic when all sorts of evil spirits would arise to the occasion. To ward off these spirits, the ancient Pagans wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of them was a plant in use today, St. John’s Wort, and it was considered the most powerful of fall.
The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol + stice, which mean sun and to stand still. As the day lengthens, the sun seems to stand still in the sky at its highest point.
Along with Summer Solstice having the longest day, it also has the shortest night. Remember this only happens in the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern Hemisphere has their longest day in December.
Wiccans call the Summer Solstice the sabbat of Litha.
Civilizations have been celebrating this day for millenia. The biggest gathering in current times is in held at Stonehenge and starts at sunrise for a day of celebration and learning.
The Celts and the Slavs celebrated this day 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 Druids had a celebration which they considered the wedding of Heaven and Earth and this resulted in today’s belief that June is a lucky wedding month.
Now tell me what you all know about Summer Solstice. Just being born on a great day doesn’t mean I know everything there is!
I look forward to hearing from you all!