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Midsummer | June 20 (observed June 15)

For us, Midsummer is considered the official beginning of summer, but for our ancestors,who only recognized two seasons (winter and summer), Midsummer was the middle ofthe season. The common factor between our ancestor’s celebration and ours is theSummer Solstice. On Midsummer, we celebrate the longest day of the year and theshortest night. The dark and cold of winter is firmly past and the days are full of vitalityand life.

But first, we celebrate. The best-known symbol of Midsummer is the bonfire. In Europe,bonfires are still lit and burn the whole night through. Men and women gather tocelebrate the warm days and the successful planting season by dancing around thebonfire. Many people focus on love and fertility during the summer solstice, with folktraditions that include picking wildflowers and putting them under one’s pillow to dreamof the person they will marry. Couples often jump over the fire during Midsummer to beblessed by the Gods and the Ancestors.

The planting season is finished. The hard work that began with the blessing of the tools atCharming of the Plow and the planting of the seeds after Ostara has been finished. Nowwe tend to the growing crops and revel in the beauty of life. We can take a momentarybreak from the difficulties of life to embrace that which makes the hard work worth theeffort.

As the revelry comes to an end, however, we must take the time to remember that thedays will now begin to shorten once again. Winter will come and our hard work is notyet done.


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