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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Midsummer Celebrations In Ancient Times

Midsummer Celebrations In Ancient Times Cover
The celebration of Midsummer's Eve was from ancient times linked to the summer solstice. People believed that mid-summer plants had miraculous and 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.

The solstice itself has remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since Neolithic times. The concentration of the observance is not on the day as we reckon it, commencing at midnight or at dawn, but the pre-Christian beginning of the day, which falls on the previous eve.

Here we have a short list of the different ways Midsummer was celebrated in ancient times:

ANCIENT CELTS: Druids, the priestly/professional/diplomatic corps in Celtic countries, celebrated ("Light of the Shore"). It was midway between the spring Equinox ( Alban Eiler ; "Light of the Earth") and the fall Equinox ( Alban Elfed ; "Light of the Water"). "This midsummer festival celebrates the apex of Light, sometimes symbolized in the crowning of the Oak King, God of the waxing year. At his crowning, the Oak King falls to his darker aspect, the Holly King, God of the waning year..." The days following form the waning part of the year because the days become shorter.

ANCIENT CHINA: Their summer solstice ceremony celebrated the earth, the feminine, and the "forces. It complemented the winter solstice which celebrated the heavens, masculinity and "forces.

ANCIENT EGYPT:In Ancient Egypt, summer solstice was the most important day of the year. The sun was at its highest and the Nile River was beginning to rise. Special ceremonies were held to honor the Goddess Isis. Egyptians believed that Isis was mourning for her dead husband, Osiris, and that her tears made the Nile rise and well over. Accurately predicting the floods was of such vital importance that the appearance of Sirius, which occurs around the time of the summer solstice, was recognized as the beginning of the Egyptian New Year.

ANCIENT GAUL: The Midsummer celebration was called" of "named after a mare goddess who personified fertility, sovereignty and agriculture. She was portrayed as a woman riding a mare.

ANCIENT GERMANIC, SLAV AND CELTIC TRIBES IN EUROPE: Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires. "It was the night of fire festivals and of love magic, of love oracles and divination. It had to do with lovers and predictions, when pairs of lovers would jump through the luck-bringing flames..." It was believed that the crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump. Through the fire's power, "...maidens would find out about their future husband, and spirits and demons were banished." Another function of bonfires was to generate sympathetic magic: giving a boost to the sun's energy so that it would remain potent throughout the rest of the growing season and guarantee a plentiful harvest.

ANCIENT ROME: The festival of Vestalia lasted from June 7 to June 15. It was held in honor of the Roman Goddess of the hearth, Vesta. Married women were able to enter the shrine of Vesta during the festival. At other times of the year, only the vestal virgins were permitted inside.

ANCIENT SWEDEN: A Midsummer tree was set up and decorated in each town. The villagers danced around it. Women and girls would customarily bathe in the local river. This was a magical ritual, intended to bring rain for the crops.

Books in PDF format to read:

Alvin Boyd Kuhn - A Modern Revival Of Ancient Wisdom
John Opsopaus - Interpretationes Of Ancient Herbs

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