Its funny to think, that 'normally' this time of year. We are in full swing of festivals, barbecues & beach holidays. But unfortunately due to the global pandemic, that is the corona virus. Everything has grinded to a halt. And the majority of the population have been living in some form of limbo the last couple of months.
Anyways ....Today marks the longest day of the year, ((20th June 2020)). Otherwise known as summer solstice, Midsummer or Litha. The reason why its the longest day of the year, is because the sun is the furthest away from the equator than it normally is.
As far back in history that people can research, the summer solstice has been seen as a very significant time of the year, in many cultures & it has been celebrated by festivals & rituals .
For example, in northern & central European neolithic cultures, (stone age - for anyone wondering what on earth neolithic means). The summer solstice was related to the crop cycle timings. And it was celebrated by Celtic, Slavic & Germanic people. ( Slavic back in the day, ment people who come from central Europe, eastern Europe & southeast Europe as well as north Asia. But in our present day now, Slavic people are classified into just West Slavs & South Slavs .... take a look for yourself, as its quite interesting). They would celebrate by lighting great big bonfires, which were meant to help boost the suns strength for the remainder of the crop season & to ensure a healthy bountiful harvest.
Today summer solstice, has been marked/celebrated in many different ways over the years & it also has its own set of beliefs and customs. Some are based on practical needs, while others come from spiritual & superstitious beliefs.
One thing that seems to be a recurring feature in all the celebrations, is the burning of a bonfire. Some believed and do still believe, that fire deters evil spirits who choose to roam freely. The fire is meant to scare away, mischievous harvest ruining spirits & keep demons at bay. While also bringing good luck to lovers.
While there are other people who believe that by NOT lighting a fire, it will bring fire into their homes causing great devastation.
For anyone wanting to watch the sunset this evening or the sunrise tomorrow morning - English heritage will be for the first time ever, LIVE STREAMING this spectacular event.
Photo from - Countryfile.com