Celebrating the Sun and Summer Solstice!
Today (June 20) is the Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer, or Litha.
In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the longest day of sunlight, and shortest night in the year. It is a fire festival, which at its core is a celebration of solar energy. Here in Toronto, the precise moment of solstice is when the sun enters Gemini at 7:09 PM EDT on June 20th. The date usually falls on the 21st or 22nd, so some celebrants may choose to celebrate between the 21st-24th. June 24 corresponds to the ancient Roman celebration of solstice, so some celebrants choose to observe on that day.
Though Midsummer is primarily a pagan holiday, June 24 is also the feast day of St. John the Baptist, and is observed in Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches and throughout Europe (particularly in some Scandinavian and Baltic countries), as Quebec’s national (provincial) holiday, Fête St-Jean-Baptiste.
In the pagan Wheel of the Year, Midsummer falls between Beltane and Lammas, and is opposite side to Yule and thus can be thought of as the bright, mirrored reflection of it. The revelry and joy that is associated with Yule is equally associated with this time of year, but taking full advantage of the beautiful summer weather!