Each blog this week will contain new historical facts about the summer solstice celebration in order to prepare for the upcoming first day of summer and Greensboro’s Summer Solstice Festival this weekend. Cultures across the world have been celebrating their own version of midsummer throughout history, embracing its unique qualities. History.com’s article Summer Solstice Traditions offers us some fascinating information.
Each Native American tribe across North America holds a different tradition when it comes to the summer solstice but all center around the sun, agriculture, renewal and the start of a new seasonal phase. The Bighorn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming is believed to be a stone arrangement to align with the sunrise and sunset of the summer solstice. Plains Indians and Sioux tribes, to name a few, also participated in different forms of a sun dance. Symbolic colors and materials that have been used for thousands of years are still used today in these celebratory dances.
In pre-Christian Europe, most traditions viewed the day as a phenomenon within nature. Pagans called this day Litha, a day that balanced water and fire. Celtic Druids called it midsummer, which was a day filled with magical opportunities. They believed that some plants, including roses, verbena and St. Johns’ wart, had special properties only on this day. Legend has it that on midsummer’s night, faeries would reveal themselves to those that rub fern seeds to their eyelids.
Remember to catch Tar Heel Basement Systems this Saturday at the Greensboro Summer Solstice Festival located at the Arboretum. It runs from 2 pm to 10 pm and will prove to be a fun-filled event for the entire family. Stop by, say “Hi!” and sign up for a free, no obligation in-home estimate.
Image credit: Powwow. Digital image. The Black Hills, Badlands, and Lakes: Lakota Sioux Culture. The Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association, n.d. Web. 17 July 2014