Midsummer’s Day

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6 Responses

  1. Seannachaidh says:


    I’m from Scotland.  I was always taught this was the Festival of the All-Father. 

    Father’s Day is still celebrated in the UK on the Sunday closest to the Summer Solstice, (just as Mother’s Day usually falls on the Sunday closest to the Spring Equinox Festival of the All-Mother). 

    One aspect of All-Fathers’ Day is that one celebrates all that is manly; in honour of the All-Father.  Masculine activities like proving onself in sports, trials of strength, horse racing, as well as competitions to see who had the best livestock.  A celebration of the best of the best in Celtic manhood, who then personified the vigour of the crops, and so also celebrated the mystical properties of growth. 

    The festival has survived into modern times in Scotland in the custom of holding Highland Games at this time of year, although now, such games are staggered throughout the summer so it is possible to visit several, and spreading it all across the tourist season. 

    In many Lowland areas the "Common Riding" Festivals incorporate many of the same aspects and customs, and are also staggered throughout the summer season.   Part of the Summer Solstice ritual was to walk the sacred paths, re-inforcing boundaries both spiritual and physical.  "Riding the Bounds" forms an important part of Common Riding customs to this day, as does choosing the "Best Lad" from the town to represent all that is vigorous and manly.


  2. katlomas says:

    Re: Midsummer’s Day
    This is something that has always puzzled me. If the first day of summer is around the 20th. June, and the first day of autumn around 21st. September, then surely midsummers day must be close to 6th. August? I think it would be more logical to call this mid-YEARS day, don’t you?

    • James says:

      in the old calendars the first day of summer was 1 May (Beltane). Since the summer solstice fell exactly between then and the first day of Autumn (Lammas – 1 August – first harvest) it is called midsummer. It is only in modern days that solstice/equinox began to be called the first day of the season. When the seasons were first names they were tied to aspects of agriculture, not to arbitrary positions of the sun (why would the longest day necessarily be the first day of summer? It’s not the first warm day, nor the first sunny day, indeed the days typically begin to significantly warm, in Northern Europe, around May).

  3. tonytowner says:

    Re: Midsummer’s Day
    It is a wonderful experience to be part of this gathering of like-minded individuals who come, rain or shine, to the stones to celebrate the solstice. I love the summer months in the UK because of the rich diversity of festivals that are on offer.

  4. bramblerose says:

    Re: Midsummer’s Day
    I will be lighting a fire using wood from my old pine tree from December and also eucalyptus tree. giving thanks to the Earthmother and nature Laws. Peace to all.

  5. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Midsummer’s Day
    20,000 people were at Stonehenge this morning celebrating the solstice.

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