Today is the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice – or Litha, as it’s known in the Neo-Pagan community. The celebration of the longest day of the year has fallen out of fasion since Christianity was introduced … except for in Scandinavia, where we’re still stubbornly heathen in our ways and insist on celebrating Midsommar (“Midsummer”, go fig) the first Friday after the solstice.
Meaning back home, on Friday, there will be much merriment (read: drinking), and the traditional eating of new potatoes and matjessill (a particular spicing of pickled herring).
If you’ve got children, it’s likely there will also be dancing around the traditional midsommarstång – midsummer pole. If you needed convincing that the old solstice celebrations were a fertility ritual, look no further:
|Subtle, it ain’t …|
…And that’s the Christian version, where they made it into a cross, making it actually look phallic, as opposed to just being a euphemism for sex, being a pole with a ring around the top …
Anyway. Yes. Litha. Nature is at its most fertile, summer’s here and everything is lovely and green. Druids gather around Stonehenge to celebrate the solstice. The depressing thing about it is that while it means it’s the longest day of the year … it also means that we’re now heading toward the darker half of the year again. Sigh. At least the next Pagan holiday is the first harvest, and I like harvest festivals, not to mention early autumn. 🙂 Have a nice day everyone!
(You know what? I’m liking this. I think the theme for next year will be to write about Swedish holiday customs. I’ve touched on it on some of these Pagan festival posts, where they happen to overlap, but not gone into proper detail. There are plenty of things I could say about Midsummer, for instance, but have chosen not to, because it’s specifically about the Swedish celebration as opposed to the Pagan festival. Although I do remember combining the two quite successfully ten years ago!)