Juhannus 2010

| | 0 comments

03 July 2010 

Midsummer may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place around June 24 and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different cultures.
European midsummer-related holidays, traditions, and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin. 

 They are particularly important in Northern Europe - Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - but are found also in Ireland, parts of Britain (Cornwall especially), France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Ukraine, other parts of Europe, and elsewhere - such as Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, and also in the Southern Hemisphere (mostly in Brazil, Argentina and Australia), where this imported European celebration would be more appropriately called Midwinter.
Midsummer is also sometimes referred to by Neopagans and others as Litha, stemming from Bede's De temporum ratione in which he gave the Anglo-Saxon names for the months roughly corresponding to June and July as "se Ærra Liþa" and "se Æfterra Liþa" (the "early Litha month" and the "later Litha month") with an intercalary month of "Liþa" appearing after se Æfterra Liþa on leap years. The fire festival or Lith- Summer solstice is a tradition for many pagans.
Solstice celebrations still center around the day of the astronomical summer solstice. Some choose to hold the rite on the 21st of June, even when this is not the longest day of the year, and some celebrate June 24th, the day of the solstice in Roman times.

Although Midsummer is originally a pagan holiday, in Christianity it is associated with the nativity of John the Baptist, which is observed on the same day, June 24, in the Catholic, Orthodox and some Protestant churches. It is six months before Christmas because Luke 1:26 and Luke 1.36 imply that John the Baptist was born six months earlier than Jesus, although the Bible does not say at which time of the year this happened.
In Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Quebec (Canada), the traditional Midsummer day, June 24, is a public holiday. So it was formerly also in Sweden and Finland, but in these countries it was, in the 1950s, moved to the Saturday between June 20 and June 26.


The celebration of Midsummer's Eve was from ancient times linked to the summer solstice. Some people believed that mid-summer plants, especially Calendula, had miraculous healing powers and they therefore picked them on this night. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again. In later years, witches were also thought to be on their way to meetings with other powerful beings, though this is not the case today.
In Sweden, Mid-summer celebration originates from the time before Christianity; it was celebrated as a sacrifice time in the sign of the fertility.
The solstice itself has remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since Neolithic times [citation needed]. The concentration of the observance is not on the day as we reckon it, commencing at midnight or at dawn, as it is customary for cultures following lunar calendars tend place the beginning of the day on the previous eve at dusk at the moment when the Sun has set. In Sweden, Finland and Estonia, Midsummer's Eve is considered the greatest festival of the year, comparable only with Walpurgis Night, Christmas Eve, and New Year's Eve.
 
In the 7th century, Saint Eligius (died 659/60) warned the recently converted inhabitants of Flanders against the age-old pagan solstice celebrations. According to the Vita by his companion Ouen, he'd say: "No Christian on the feast of Saint John or the solemnity of any other saint performs solestitia [summer solstice rites] or dancing or leaping or diabolical chants."
As Christianity entered pagan areas, midsummer celebrations came to be often borrowed and transferred into new Christian holidays, often resulting in celebrations that mixed Christian traditions with traditions derived from pagan Midsummer festivities.

Finland

Midsummer bonfire in Seurasaari. Bonfires are very common in Finland, where many people spend their midsummer in the countryside outside towns.
 
Before 1316, the summer solstice was called Ukon juhla, after the Finnish god Ukko. In Karelian tradition, many bonfires were burned side by side, the biggest of which was called Ukko-kokko (the "bonfire of Ukko"). After the celebrations were Christianized, the holiday is known as juhannus after John the Baptist (Finnish: Johannes Kastaja).
Since 1955, the holiday is always on a Saturday (between June 20 and June 26). Earlier it was always on June 24. A lot of the celebration of midsummer takes place on midsummer eve, when many workplaces are closed and shops have to close their doors at noon.
In the Finnish midsummer celebration, bonfires (Finnish kokko) are very common and are burnt at lakesides and by the sea. Often two young birch trees (koivu) are placed on either side of the front door to welcome visitors. Swedish-speaking Finns often celebrate by erecting a midsummer or maypole (Swedish midsommarstång, majstång).

In folk magic, midsummer was a very potent night and the time for many small rituals, mostly for young maidens seeking suitors and fertility. Will o wisps were believed to be seen at midsummer night, particularly to finders of the mythical "fern in bloom" and possessors of the "fern seed", marking a treasure. An important feature of the midsummer in Finland is the white night and the midnight sun. Because of Finland's location spanning around the Arctic Circle the nights near the midsummer day are short or non-existent. This gives a great contrast to the darkness of the winter time.
 
Many Finns leave the cities for Midsummer and spend their holiday in the countryside. Rituals include bonfires, sauna and spending time together. Heavy drinking is also associated with the Finnish midsummer.
Many music festivals of all sizes are organized on the Midsummer weekend. It's also common to start summer holidays on Midsummer day. For many families the Midsummer is the time when they move to the countryside to their summer cottage by the lake. Midsummerday is also the Day of the Finnish Flag. The flag is hoisted at 6 pm on Midsummer eve and flown all night till 9 pm the following evening.

Romania

In Romania, the Midsummer celebrations are named Drăgaica or Sânziene. Drăgaica is celebrated by a dance performed by a group of 5-7 young girls of which one is chosen as the Drăgaica. She is dressed as a bride, with wheat wreath, while the other girls, dressed in white wear a veil with bedstraw flowers. Midsummer fairs are held in many Romanian villages and cities. The oldest and best known midsummer fair in Romania is the Drăgaica fair, held in Buzău between 10 and 24 June every year.





Found on wikipedia.

0 comments:

Post a comment

About

Amateur photographer. Professional nerd. Bogdan Bontaș | Create Your Badge

Total Pageviews

All content on this site is copyrighted and belongs to the owner. Powered by Blogger.

Followers

 
Facebook Flickr