Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Ten fun facts about the Summer Solstice or Litha

Ten fun facts about the Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and is  generally celebrated on the 21st June. So those are facts that you knew already! Below are a few facts that you may or may not know about this wonderful time of year, a celebration of the wonderful strength of our amazing sun.

The common name used amongst Pagans for the Summer Solstice is Litha. Other names for Litha include: Lithia, Alban Hefin(Gaelic for light of the shore), Sun Blessing, Gathering Day, Feill-Sheathain, Whit Sunday, Whitsuntide, Vestalia(Roman), The Feast of Epona(Ancient Gaulish) Thing-Tide, Sank Hans Aften(Denmak) and St. John's Day. If you have heard of any more I would love to hear from you!

The word Solstice comes from the Latin ‘solstitium’ meaning 'Sun stands still' because the apparent movement of the Sun's path north or south stops before changing direction.

Litha is often synonymous with Midsummer and is said to be associated with Faeries or the fey folk. Offerings of milk and honey were often left out for them.

Transformed by Ruth Calder Murphy

As well as faeries there were thought to be evil sprits around at this time of year therefore our ancesters wore garlands of herbs and flowerflowers to protect themselves. The most popular of these was St Johns wort which was known as ‘chase’devil’

Litha was known as Sankt Hans Aften in Denmark and was an official holiday until 1770.

Litha was celebrated with bonfires as a reflection of the sun. Folk would jump through the fires and it was said that the height that they jumped would be the height of their crops the following year.

The Chinese celebrate this time of year by honouring Li the Goddess of Light

The Druids celebrated the day as the wedding of heaven and earth. They believed this to be a very sacred day, seeing the wonderful long day as a blessing given to us by mother earth. Handfasting ceremonies became very popular during June and even today it remains popular to have a June wedding.

The full moon that occurs near the time of the Summer Solstice is often termed Mead moon, name for the drink made from honey, often served at handfasting ceremonies.

In Poland the night of merrymaking - also known as St. John’s Night or “Noc Świętojańska” - is still observed in some areas and some Polish communities in the United States


  1. Love this post ;o) Blessings my friend ;o)

  2. Thank you for posting this! I haven't had the chance to read my book on Midsummer so this was really nice. *hugs*