Summer solstice. June 21. Lita, Midsummer, Midsummer’s day
Midsummer day, Lita and Kupala – the oldest European festivals, dedicated to the day of the summer solstice . These holidays were the most joyful and magnificently celebrated by our ancestors for centuries. Not being able to ban and delete them from the memory of the peoples, the Christian Church entered on June 24, the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist (celebrated according to the Julian calendar July 7).
For the Gentiles the sun possessed divine authority over all living things, and the summer solstice meant the highest peak of all the forces of nature, which is embodied in abundance with the ripening of the harvest. However, the middle of summer also reminded about the upcoming reduction of daylight and the inevitable approach of autumn, and then winter.
Lita – Celtic festival of the summer solstice
The Celts celebrated Lita ( Litha ) – solstice, Mid-summer . Summer for them started with Beltaine may 1 (may day) and ended with Lugnasad 1 August). At festivals Lita organically combined work and leisure activities, ceremonies and entertainment, wedding and communion with spirits, divination and witchcraft.
Celebrating Lita used to adorn themselves and their homes with boughs, garlands and wreaths of flowers. Binding plants on the summer solstice were: St. John’s wort, birch, fennel. hare cabbage and white lilies. People came to sing, dance and dance, and participated in ritual ceremonies. In the evening went to a nearby grove to leave for the fairies and elves offerings of food and fragrant herbs (the latter, according to legends, had a special magical power, if it were collected on Lita). Dusk was settling torchlight processions and bonfires, which were also attributed magical power. Jumping over the fire, according to the beliefs of the ancients, could ensure prosperity and protection for the whole family. Lovers who have taken in hand, jumped over the fire three times, their marriage was happy, rich and large. Even the embers of a fire on Lita kept and used later to heal wounds and ward off the bad weather during the harvest.
In June gather the first honey, so the June full moon is called the honey month. After the festivities on Beltain many couples expect the addition, and the end of June was a time of mass pagan weddings. Thus, the concept of the wedding was closely connected with a honeymoon in June, and later turned into a tradition we gladly follow and now. Interestingly, June is still the most popular month for weddings in many countries.
German and Scandinavian celebrate the summer solstice
Germanic, Scandinavian and Baltic peoples magnificently celebrated day and night of the summer solstice. Subsequently these holidays in different countries has received the name of John’s day or Midsummer night (from the national version of the name John). The meaning of the rituals on Midsummer’s day coincides with the meaning Lita: this greeting of the Union of the Sun and Earth, calls for future harvest and prosperity, scaring away evil spirits. For Midsummer day celebrations in different countries of Europe is characterized by the kindling huge bonfires (the higher the fire, the worse it is for evil spirits), as well as jumping through the fire and the rituals of the worship of water (lowering water colors, the burning of old boats in Scandinavia), which is now virtually gone. On Midsummer night, no one went to bed, people walked and had fun, partied and partied until dawn. Some of the rituals of Midsummer day living still, in Scandinavia, the Baltic States and other European countries are held festivities in the period between 19 and 25 June.
Ancient celebrations of the summer solstice
In Russia before the solstice marked the Mermaid sedmitsa, praising mermaids – spirits of rivers and lakes. This week has been closely linked with the remembrance of ancestors, as they had with the ancient European custom of celebrating the rivers of the burnt ashes of soldiers on boats. On the day of the solstice in Russia celebrated Kupala – the end of spring and beginning of summer with his first month Kristem. Rituals Kupala is very similar to the rituals of Midsummer day and Lita, which is quite natural, given the common historical roots of the European Nations. Ancient Rus wreaths, drinking Surya (honey drink), jumping over bonfires, sacrificed water, and fire, collected herbs, performing rituals, calling on the harvest and “cleansing the soul and body” bathing in rivers, lakes and streams.
Immediately after the day of solstice solstice occurred, which lasted 3 days during which they celebrated the whole life cycle of the vicissitudes of the God Perun: from birth to death, then the magic of the resurrection and the forthcoming victory over the Skipper-the beast. Perun is one of the most important gods of the ancient Slavs, the patron Saint of soldiers, in charge of the forces of nature and heavenly fire.