by Cayce McCarthy. Arts and Entertainment blogger.
Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice (Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) which is the longest day of the year and the first official day of summer. Well, of course, many people like to argue that summer starts when May hits, or when school’s out, or when Memorial Day starts but tomorrow is the official calendar day. It’s also the day when the Sun reaches its northern most position in the sky. But there are somethings about tomorrow that you may or may not know. Such as certain traditions or myths of the day.
The Solstice is often associated with change, nature, and new beginnings. One of the traditions of the day was to organize ancient calendars and when to come up with a planting and harvesting season. This day was also very popular for weddings. This small holiday is celebrated around the world with banquets, bonfires, picnics, and traditional songs and dance. These celebrations vary depending on the culture.
For one thing, China celebrates the day as a day of Femininity by honoring the Earth and the Yin forces and the Winter Solstice is associated with celebrating the heavens, masculinity, and the Yang forces. In the ancient civilization of Gaul, that’s in modern-day France and other neighboring countries, this day is known as the Midsummer celebration/ Feast of Epona. Pagans would celebrate the day with bonfires and after the spread of Christianity, the day was changed to focus on the celebration of St. John the Baptist whose official day is June 24th. In North America, many Native American celebrated the day with a ritual dance.
The most notable being the Sioux tribe who would cut and raise a tree that was considered a visible connection between the heavens and Earth while they set their teepees in a circle to represent the cosmos. Tribe members would refrain from drinking and eating during the dance and painted themselves in symbolic colors such as red (sunset), blue (sky), yellow (lightning), white (light) and black (night). Some of the modern day celebrations, which mostly happens in modern-day Germanic/Scandinavian cultures, include dancing around Maypoles, having feasts, bonfires, and homes being decorated with flower garlands, greenery, and tree branches. Also, modern day Pagans and New Age peoples use the day to celebrate as well and many of them gather at the ancient Stonehenge in England. Some parts in America celebrate this day with music and or art festivals as well.