“Oh, the summer night,
Has a smile of light,
And she sits on a sapphire throne.”
– Barry Cornwall
With midsummer this weekend, the knowing that summer is coming to a close is acknowledged deep inside. Change is always happening, either in small degrees or in mighty moves. All the same, it’s the aftermath and the consequences that highlight the events.
While Midsummer is celebrated as the longest day of the year as the Summer Solstice; it has a rich history of centuries old tradition especially in the Northern Hemisphere as a time for community based festivals and bonfires as well as the feast day of the early Christian martyr St. John the Baptist.
As the Christian community prepares to commemorate this day, neighbourhood and community as well as the Church prepares for the feast if St. John. The 4th century A.D. Christian Church had established this day, in honour of the birth of the Saint John the Baptist, which as recorded in the Gospel had been six months before the birth of Christ. Accordingly the Feast of Saint John (Saint John’s Day) was celebrated at midsummer, exactly sixth months before the nativity. additionally as St. John prepared the way before Christ, his words “He must increase, but I must decrease”( John 3:30) is symbolized by the fact that the “sun begins to diminish at the summer solstice and eventually increases at the winter solstice.”
Marked by varied traditions and celebrations around the globe like processions of ships down the Danube (Austria), quadrilha of Brazil, light great fires (Canada), maypole dances (Sweden for instance) to list a few; midsummer is marked by highlighting the life and plays on St. John the Baptist as well as celebrations of fireworks, bonfires and dances. The pre-Christian Era had seen similar celebrations, primarily as a pagan ritual as well as marking the end of the summer farming season.
“In summer, the song sings itself.” William Carlos Williams
Midsummer, this year brings to mind, the fact that six months will be soon gone by. Has the time passed been of “inner value or gain” for one’s betterment ? Has the time gone by, resulted in the growing of the True Path and His Way within; or are we still clamoring for material gains and worldly pleasures ? The answer is need for one’s self alone and not for the appeasement or gratification of others. Once we realize the truth, making the change soon would be better before the year comes to an end by it’s own time.
The quiet stars came out, one after one;
The holy twilight fell upon the sea,
The summer day was done.”
– Celia Thaxter
“It is God in the house when the curtains lift gently at the windows, and a young child sucks his itching gums.
We do not understand the mysteries of God.
God the winter. Summer, Septembers.
Moody dark tones of fathers dying.
The splash and laughter.
– Ellease Southerland