Tonight is Midsummer's Night and tomorrow is Midsummer's Day. A day associated with Midsummer madness and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
One of my favourite memories of this night is from about 15 years ago when a friend used to commandeer her uncle's garden in Ein Karem, a rural and largely unspoiled area on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It probably looks much like Shakespeare would have imagined Italy in his time. A group of us would bring cheese, wine and grapes, and we acted out (reading from the text of course - we were only pseudo intellects, not the real macoy) the play amongst the vines and olive trees, and under the stars. It sounds terribly pretentious and it was. You should have seen how we sneered at the person who brought coke and crisps (didn't stop us eating them though!).
The big questions have always been why is this Midsummer's Day when the Summer Solstice is only three days earlier on June 21st? And why is the Summer Solstice considered to be the start of the summer when it is the longest day of the year? I went googling (Agoogling I did go, with a hey and a ho and a nonny nonny no....) and I found all the answers and more here (Midsummer's Day) and here (Summer Solstice).
Bottom line(s)? Midsummer's Day is a hand-me-down from the Roman calendar when the summer solstice did fall on 24th June and they celebrated the day the sun stopped and changed direction. The seasons starting on the solstice and equinox dates is merely a traditional concept. Many people believe that they should actually mark the middle of each season.
All lovely and informative, but what I really like about today is what Liska from New Mum Online pointed out in her post from the beginning of the week. It adds a touch of magic and totally fits in with my getting a grip activities this month. It is more powerful than January 1st (that other voodoo date for new starts) and more timely as the season of gay abandon is practically upon us.
So my Thank you Thursday this week is to Liska for giving us all another shot at improvement. And this one is surfused with the magic of the gods, the blessings of St. John the Baptist and the ease of eating healthily during the salad season. How much more help do you need to get motivated?