The shortest night of the year
As you surely know, the summer solstice on the night of June 21st marks the beginning of summer every year. It is the shortest night of the year and the sun reaches its highest point. Mankind has known this thousands of years ago, as evidenced by Stonehenge, the Tower of Jericho, or the Nebra Sky Disk. Countless myths and customs have grown around the turn of the tide. Especially in the religions of the Nordic and Slavic cultures the shortest night of the year is deeply rooted. One thing is certain: this night is connected with magic and much more than lighting a pile of wood together with the volunteer fire brigade while trying to destroy the supply of beer as quickly as possible. You have probably celebrated the solstice before and you know exactly what I mean. Even in the past people knew how to celebrate very well and so it is not surprising that there are countless festivities in all places during midsummer, which keep the mythology of this night alive. I would like to introduce you to a few customs from different cultures:
Celebrating like Celts, Teutons or Slavs
The CELTS called the festival Alban Hevin. And the Celts knew how to celebrate. For twelve days they danced, drank and paid homage to the sun god. The earth goddess was thanked for her fertile gifts, which nature produced at this time of year. It was warm and the fruits were growing on the trees and in the fields. So it was possible to celebrate without any worries. There were bonfires for this celebration. A strong beer brewed by the women was drunk and in addition, appropriate herbs with aphrodisiac and intoxicating effects provided for hilarious activity. This created a lot of space for eroticism, which also played an important role in this festival.
The TEUTONS dedicated their Midsummer festival mainly to Frigg, a seeress. She had the knowledge about the destiny of all people. The sunfires were holy fires and should bring blessings for the land, the growing fruits, the cattle and the people. It was the custom to jump over the burnt down fire. A ritual of purification and refinement, which is still celebrated in some places today.
During the Christianisation process, most of the pagan festivals were attempted to impose a Christian background. Because of the proximity of St. John's Day (24 June), the midsummer fire became St. John's fire in many places. This was also similar with the SLAVS. Originally, this culture was also concerned with the dying of summer, as the days became shorter again from this time on. At the summer solstice, nature has its peak of energy, a part of which people could transfer to themselves. For example through herbs collected at this time. In the Slavic/Russian culture, people believed to draw the greatest possible energy from nature by bathing in a river or lake at the solstice.
Festivals and events with old customs and rites for modern moon-worshippers
Nowadays, gratitude for the fruits of nature and the homage of the gods no longer play a (major) role in solstice celebrations in our latitudes. Nevertheless, even in this country there is the opportunity to immerse oneself in the customs, rites and way of life of the time-honoured past. At a whole series of medieval celebrations and festivals or other mystical events you can live out your inclination for old rites and customs away from everyday life and share them with like-minded people. Often these events take place in nature and offer the ideal environment to let your imagination run wild. Whether this is historically correct or following your personal occult fantasies is irrelevant.
To help you immerse yourself in the special atmosphere of the shortest night of the year, we at Boudoir Noir offer you a whole range of imaginative outfits for gloomy elves, moon worshippers and warriors of the night.
Foto: © shutterstock - Lia Koltyrina