Summer Solstice: A History
The Summer Solstice is upon us which means this Wednesday is the longest day and shortest night of the year, so how will you spend it?
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice is anywhere between June 20-22. This year it falls on June 21. Most people don’t really pay attention to the day but there were several cultures that acknowledged the day hundreds of years ago and some religions that still do, the History Channel said.
In Utah, it’s not common to find many Pagans, Wiccans, or Witches but they do exist. Some areas in cities like Salt Lake City and Cedar City might have a denser population of pagans but Utah is LDS-centric.
For those beliefs, the Summer Solstice has a completely different meaning than just the longest day of the year.
Litha is what Neopagans call the Summer Solstice. Midsummer is used by Wiccans, and Christians call it St. John’s Day. There’s a rich history of the day.
Another fun fact about the Summer Solstice is that the Greeks used it to start the new year and begin the countdown to the Olympic Games, the History Channel said.
Utahns usually just pass the day by, maybe noticing its hotter for longer but usually no celebrations.
Here is How the Ancients Used to Celebrate:
- Pagans—Bonfires! I think a late-night community bonfire would be an awesome addition to the local summer festivities. The pagans believed that the bonfire would banish demons and help with crop growth.
- Vikings—Had big gatherings to discuss disputes. I also vote that we add this to the Southern Utah community’s yearly calendar.
- The Sioux—Ceremonial Sun Dance. Some of the traditions and practices are still followed in the tribes today.
Though most of Utah’s population is LDS, it would still be cool to add some of these activities in just for fun! Also, there might be spirits out on Wednesday so make sure to wear herbs and flowers to ward them away. (Joking)