Seasonal Celebrations Home
Next Holiday: Midsummer/Litha June 21, 2018
In addition to the four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic
year, there are four lesser holidays as well: the two solstices, and the two equinoxes.
In folklore, these are referred to as the four “quarter days” of the year, and
modern Witches call them the four “Lesser Sabbats”, or the four “Low Holidays”.
The summer solstice is one of them.
Technically, a solstice is an astronomical point and, due to
the calendar creep of the leap-year cycle, the date may vary by a few days
depending on the year. The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches the
Tropic of Cancer, and we experience the longest day and the shortest night of
the year. Astrologers know this as the date on which the sun enters the sign of
However, since most European peasants were not accomplished
at reading an ephemeris or did not live close enough to Salisbury Plain to trot
over toStonehenge and sight down its main avenue,
they celebrated the event on a fixed calendar date, June 24. The slight forward
displacement of the traditional date is the result of multitudinous calendrical
changes down through the ages. It is analogous to the winter solstice
celebration, which is astronomically on or about December 21, but is celebrated
on the traditional date of December 25, Yule, later adopted by the Christians.
For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Midsummer click here.
Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Yule
June 21, 2018
For an article on Yule by Mike Nichols click here.
2018 Wiccan/Pagan Calendar