MIDSUMMER > THE CELEBRATION OF SUMMER & LONGEST SUNSHINE !

Pictured is the early morning sunrays over the Oresund bridge from my flight ! Midsummer is the period of time in the middle of the summer. The exact dates vary among different cultures, but is primarily held close to the summer solstice. SUMMER SOLSTICE IS THE DAY WHEN SUN REACHES ITS LONGEST POSITION AND WITH THE LONGEST PERIOD OF DAYLIGHT. The celebration predates Christianity, and has existed under different names and traditions around the world. The occasion is also celebrated as the Day of the Finnish Flag. In Sweden, – the Midsummer is such an important festivity – Midsummer Eve is always a Friday between 19 and 25 June and Saturday between 20 and 26 June is Midsummer Day – People often begin the day by picking flowers and making wreaths to place on the maypole, which is a key component in the celebrations. People often begin the day by picking flowers and making wreaths to place on the maypole, which is a key component in the celebrations. The maypole is raised in an open spot and traditional ring-dances ensue, to the delight of the children and some of the adults

THE SUNRISE OVER ÖRESUND STRAIGHT BETWEEN SWEDEN & DENMARK FROM MY FLIGHT

MID SUMMER


WHAT IS MID SUMMER FESTIVAL ?


MID SUMMER FESTIVAL IS THE OBSERVATION & CELEBRATION OF SUMMER


THE EXACT DATES VARY BY CULTURES

BUT IS PRIMARILY HELD ON A DATE CLOSE TO THE SUMMER SOLSTICE


SUMMER


  • Summer is the hottest of the four temperate seasons, falling after spring and before autumn
  • At or around the summer solstice (about 3 days before Midsummer Day), the earliest sunrise and latest sunset occurs, the days are longest and the nights are shortest, with day length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice
  • The date of the beginning of summer varies according to climate, tradition, and culture
  • When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa
SUMMER IN NORTHERN TEMPERATE ZONE
ASTRONOMICAL SERASON 21 JUNE – 23 SEPTEMBER
METEREOLOGICAL SEASON 1   JUNE – 31 AUGUST
SOLAR (CELTIC) SEASON 1   MAY  – 31 JULY
SUMMER IN THE SOUTHERN TEMPERATE ZONE
ASTRONOMICAL SEASON 22 DECEMBER – 21 MARCH
METEREOLOGICAL SEASON 1   DECEMBER – 28 / 29 FEBRUARY
SOLAR (CELTIC) SEASON  1   NOVEMBER  – 31 JANUARY

WHAT IS SUMMER SOLSTICE ?


SUMMER SOLSTICE IS THE DAY WHEN SUN REACHES ITS LONGEST POSITION

AND

WITH THE LONGEST PERIOD OF DAYLIGHT


Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (Sun) and sistere (to stand still)


  • The summer solstice, also known as estival solstice or midsummer, occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun
  • It happens twice yearly – once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern)
  • For that hemisphere, the summer solstice is when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of daylight
  • Within the Arctic circle (for the northern hemisphere) or Antarctic circle (for the southern hemisphere), there is continuous daylight around the summer solstice
  • On the summer solstice, Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°
  • Likewise, the Sun’s declination from the celestial equator is 23.44°
  • The summer solstice occurs during summer
  • This is the June solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the December solstice in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs sometime between June 20 and June 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and between December 20 and December 23 in the Southern Hemisphere
  • The same dates in the opposite hemisphere are referred to as the winter solstice
  • Since prehistory, the summer solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by festivals and rituals
  • Traditionally, in many temperate regions (especially Europe), the summer solstice is seen as the middle of summer and referred to as “midsummer”
  • Today, however, in some countries and calendars it is seen as the beginning of summer.

SUMMER SOLSTICE – DISTINCTIONS


 
  • Although the summer solstice is the longest day of the year for that hemisphere, the dates of earliest sunrise and latest sunset vary by a few days
  • This is because the Earth orbits the Sun in an ellipse, and its orbital speed varies slightly during the year
  • Although the Sun appears at its highest altitude from the viewpoint of an observer in outer space or a terrestrial observer outside tropical latitudes, the highest altitude occurs on a different day for certain locations in the tropics, specifically those where the Sun is directly overhead (maximum 90 degrees elevation) at the subsolar point
  • This day occurs twice each year for all locations between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn because the overhead Sun appears to cross a given latitude once before the day of the solstice and once afterward
  • For all observers, the apparent position of the noon Sun is at its most northerly point on the June solstice and most southerly on the December solstice.
  • Full moon – The year 2016 was the first time in nearly 70 years that a full moon and the Northern Hemisphere‘s summer solstice occurred on the same day – The 2016 summer solstice’s full moon rose just as the Sun set

SUMMER SOLSTICE / MIDSUMMER – CULTURAL ASPECTS


  • The significance given to the summer solstice has varied among cultures, but most recognize the event in some way with holidays, festivals, and rituals around that time with themes of religion or fertility
  • For example, in Sweden – midsummer is one of the year’s major holidays when the country closes down as much as during Christmas
  • In some regions, the summer solstice is seen as the beginning of summer and the end of spring
  • In other cultural conventions, the solstice is closer to the middle of summer

 
 

IS MID SUMMER ONLY A SEASONAL FESTIVAL ?


NO


MID SUMMER CELEBRATION IS A FESTIVAL WITH SEASONAL, CULTURAL & RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE


MID SUMMER CELEBRATIONS PREDATES CHRISTIANITY

&

HAS EXISTED UNDER DIFFERENT NAMES & TRADITIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD !


NATIVITY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

ST. JOHNS EVE


QUARTER DAYS


ADONIA


  • These are commemorated by many Christian denominations, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, and Anglican Communion as well as by freemasonry
  • In Sweden, the Midsummer is such an important festivity that there have been proposals to make the Midsummer’s Eve the National Day of Sweden -instead of June 6
  • In Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Midsummer’s festival is a public holiday
  • In Denmark and Norway, it may also be referred to as St. Hans Day
MIDSUMMER
SAINT JOHN´S DAY
ALSO CALLED
  • Feast of Saint John the Baptist, Summer Solstice, St. John’s Feast Day, Jāņi, Enyovden, Līþa/ Lithe, Midsommar, Ivan Kupala Day, Juhannus, Mittumaari, Alban Hefin, Gŵyl Ganol yr Haf, Sankthans, Joninės, Jaanipäev, Keskikesä
OBSERVED BY
  • Traditionally: European countries, Brazil, Quebec
  • Liturgically: Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, Anglican Communion
FESTIVAL TYPE
  • Seasonal, Cultural and Christian
SIGNIFICANCE MID SUMMMER marks the

 

  • Ancient middle of summer
  • Beginning of Astronomical summer, and
  • The nativity of St. John the Baptist
CELEBRATIONS
  • FESTIVALS
  • BONFIRES
  • FEASTING
  • SINGING
  • MAYPOLE DANCING
OBSERVATIONS
  • CHURCH SERVICE
  • RE-ENACTMENTS OF THE LIFE OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
  • PROCESSIONS
  • BAPTISMS &
  • CHURCH WEDDINGS
DATE June 21, 24, 25 or a date close to the Summer Solstice on June 20 – 25
RELATED TO
  • Nativity of St. John the Baptist
  • Saint John’s Eve
  • Summer Solstice
  • Quarter days
  • Adonia

WHAT IS THE RELIGIOUS HISTORY & SIGNIFICANCE OF MID SUMMER FESTIVAL ?


NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN – THE BAPTIST OR SAINT JOHN´S DAY (THE FEAST DAY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST)


  • Saint John’s Day, the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, was established by the undivided Christian Church in the 4th century AD, in honour of the birth of the Saint John the Baptist, which the Gospel of Luke records as being six months before Jesus
  • As the Western Christian Churches mark the birth of Jesus on December 25 / Christmas – the Feast of Saint John (Saint John’s Day) was established at midsummer, exactly six months before the former feast
  • Within Christian theology, this carries significance as John the Baptist “was understood to be preparing the way for Jesus”, with John 3:30 stating “He must increase, but I must decrease”; this is symbolized in the fact that the “sun begins to diminish at the summer solstice and eventually increases at the winter solstice.”
  • Midsummer / Saint John’s Day–related traditions, church services, and celebrations are important
  • In Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Quebec (Canada), the traditional Midsummer day, June 24, is a public holiday
  • So it was formerly also in Sweden and Finland, but in these countries it was, in the 1950s, moved to the Friday and Saturday between June 19 and June 26, respectively

HOW IS MID SUMMER FESTIVAL CELEBRATED ?


IS IT UNIVERSALLY THE SAME WAY, TRADITIONS & SYMBOLISM ?


YES & NO


THERE ARE SO MANY BELIEFS, CUSTOMS & TRADITIONS PREVALENT IN DIFFERENT AREAS, COUNTRIES & REGIONS AROUND THE WORLD – SOMETIMES SOME MIGHT OVER LAPP AND SOME TOTALLY DIFFERENT, UNIQUE & SPECIAL TO THAT PLACE, PEOPLE OR CULTURE !


SOME SYMBOLISMS, BELIEFS, TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS, OBSERVANCES & CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD


GROUPED INTO BROAD CATEGORIES BELOW


  • PROCESSION OF SHIPS (AUSTRIA)
  • PROCESSION OF SHIPS DOWN THE DANUBE RIVER IN WINE GROWING WACHAU VALLEY IN AUSTRIA
  • FIRE – RELATED RITUALS
  • THE PROTECTIVE NATURE OF FIRE TO WARD MEN OFF EVIL SPIRITS & WITCHES
  • LIGHT LARGE BON FIRES (OFTEN NEAR WATER BODIES) – IN ORDER TO
    • REPEL WITCHES & EVIL SPIRITS
    • FRIGHTEN MISCHIEVOUS SPRITS – THUS ENSURE GOOD HARVEST
    • THE BIGGER THE FIRE – THE FURTHER MISCHIEVOUS SPIRITS STAYED AWAY
    • GUARENTEE PROSPERITY & AVOID BAD LUCK
    • NOT DOING SO WOULD INVITE THE DESTRUCTION OF ONE´S HOUSE BY FIRE
  • JUMPING / LEAPING OVER / WALKING / DANCING BAREFOOT ON CHARCOAL EMBERS WITH BELIEFS LIKE NOT GETTING HURT AT ALL OR IF STRONG IN FAITH AND DRIVE WITCHES OFF AND GOOD LUCK
  • DRINKING, DANCING & SINGING AROUND THE BONFIRE 
  • VIEW SUNRISE
  • BELIEF THAT ANYONE SEEING SUNRISE WILL BE HEALTHY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
  • GATHER HERBS & MAKE CHARMS
  • IMPORTANCE OF MEDICINAL PLANTS FOR HEALTH, YOUTH, BEAUTY
  • GATHER HERBS THAT THEY NEED FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR TO CURE PEOPLE
  • BELIEF THAT 77 & 1/2 HERBS GATHERED FOR WINTER WILL CURE ALL DISEASES (77) AND NAMELESS DISEASE
  • HERBS HAVE THE GREATEST HEALING POWER AND MUST BE PICKED EARLY IN THE MORNING AT SUNRISE BEFORE DAWN
  • COMPETIONS
  • BIGGEST BON FIRE / FESTIVAL / CELEBRATIONS
  • ALASKA / US – MID NIGHT SUN GAME IS AN ANNUAL TRADITION IN FAIRBANKS – A REGULAR GAME OF BASEBALL IS PLAYED AT 10:30 PM LOCAL TIME THROUGHOUT MIDNIGHT HOUR WITH NO ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING

  • VISIT HOLY SPRINGS
  • AS A REMINDER OF HOW JOHN THE BAPTIST BAPTISED CHRIST IN THE RIVER JORDAN
  • FAMILY & FRIENDS REUNIONS
  • GATHER WITH FAMILIES OT ATTEND LARGE EVENTS
  • ACTIVITIES LIKE SINGING AND DANCING, BONFIRES, COOKOUTS, SAUNA
  • OCCASIONS FOR GOOD TIMES, EATING & SPENDING & HAVING A NICE TIME TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS OR FAMILY
  • ROMANTIC, SUITORS & FERTILITY BELIEFS

FINDING ONE´s DREAM PARTNER

  • UNMARRIED GIRLS WOULD DISCOVER THEIR POTENTIAL MATES THROGH RITUAL(S)
  • GIRLS FLOAT OR THROW FLOWER GARLANDS ON WATER AND TELL FORTUNES FROM THEIR MOVEMENT
  • UNMARRIED WOMAN COLLECTS DIFFERENT FLOWERS IN SILENCE OF THE MID SUMMER NIGHT AND PLACES THEM UNDERNEATH HER PILLOW ON THE NIGHT OF MIDSUMMER DAY- SHE WILLDREAM OF HER FUTURE HUSBAND
  • FERTILITY RITE INVOLVING BATHING IN WATER
  • CELEBRATE MARRIAGES & WEDDINGS
  • CUSTOM OF ARRANGING MOCK WEDDINGS BOTH BETWEEN ADULTS & BETWEEN CHILDREN- SYMBOLIZE THE BLOSSOMING OF A NEW LIFE
  • CHANGE IN THE FARMING YEAR
  • MIDSUMMER MARKS A BREAK IN THE FARMING YEAR – SPECIFICALLY THE BREAK BETWEEN COMPLETION OF SPRING SOWING / SPRING VEGETABLES & FRUITS AND SUMMER HAY MAKING
  • NATIONAL & KEY DAYS
  • JUNE 23 – NATIONAL VICTORY DAY OF ESTONIA – BOTH 23rd & 24th ARE FLAG FLYING DAYS
  • FINNISH FLAG DAY – THE NATIONAL FLAG IS HOISTED AT 6PM ON MIDSUMMER´s EVE AND FLOWN THROUGHOUT VTHE NNIGHT UNTIL 9PM THE NEXT EVENING – EXCEPTION TO THE NORMAL RULE OF FLYING THE FLAG FROM 8AM TO SUNSET
  • WHITE NIGHT & MID NIGHT SUN
  • FRANCE – JUNE 21 FOR FETE DE LA MUSIQUE (MUSIC DAY)

  • INTERNATION DAY OF YOGA – JUNE 21 (UN / UNESCO)
  • INDIA – THE SUMMER SOLSTICE OR MIDSUMMER´s DAY TAKES PLACE ON 21st JUNE AND IS KNOWN AS UTTARAYANA – DAY DENOTED WITH CELEBRATION, OBSERVATION & PRACTICE OF YOGA
  • JUNE 21 IS INTERNATION YOGA DAY – THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMPLY ESTABLISHED 21 JUNE AS  INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA
  • CELEBRATED ANNUALLY IN INDIA AND AROUND THE WORLD FROM 2015
  • ON 1 DECEMBER 2016 – YOGA WAS LISTED BY UNESCO AS AN INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
  • PURIFYING EFFECTS OF WATER
  • WATER HAS MIRACULOUS PURIFYING EFFECTS – BATHING & SPRINGS
  • MAYPOLE
  • RAISING AND DANCING AROUND A MAYPOLE
  • GREENERY PLACED OVER HOUSES & BARNS
  • GREEERY PLACED OVER HOUSES AND BARNS WAS SUPPOSED TO BRING GOOD FORTUNE AND HEALTH TO PEOPLE & LIVESTOCK
  • SWEDEN
  • SWEDEN MIDSUMMER´S DAY IS A SATURDAY BETWEEN JUNE 20 TO JUNE 26
  • IN SWEDEN – THE ACTUAL CELEBRATION IS ON THE EVE – i.e A FRIDAY BETWEEN JUNE 19 AND JUNE 25
  • IN SWEDEN – THE MID SUMMER IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT FESTIVITY THAT THERE HAVE BEEN PROPOSALS TO MAKE MIDSUMMER´s EVE THE NATIONAL DAY OF SWEDEN – INSTEAD OF JUNE 6
  • IN ILLINOIS / USA- GENEVA HOSTS A SWEDISH DAY (SVESKARNAS DAG) FESTIVAL ON 3rd SUNDAY IN JUNE – FEATURING MAYPOLE RAISING, DANCING AND PRESENTATION OF AN AUTHENTIC VIKING SHIP – DATES BACK TO 1911
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