Countdown to Midsummer Celebration – one day to go!

Tomorrow, Saturday June 24th, the Museum will be holding an event to celebrate Midsummer.

Flowers at Midsummer

Flowers are made into garlands, thrown into holy wells and springs and cast into fires at Midsummer.

Yellow flowers, symbols of the Sun, are most common.

Roses are symbols of the sun and the Goddess (they are said to have sprung from the blood of Venus).

Midsummer is a good time to collect herbs: they are the bounty of the Sun God, patron of healing and medicine.

Herbs particularly associated with Midsummer:

St John’s Wort

Mugwort

Vervain

Fennel

White lilies

Join us outside the Museum from 3pm for music and dancing and some interesting seasonal customs!

 

Midsummer Fires

This seems like a very ancient custom.  It was first written about in England in 1200s.

At one time, it is believed that every village had a Midsummer Fire.  They were normally lit near a holy site: a well, a hilltop or a border between two places (between two villages or where land and water meet for example).  They were usually lit after sundown to ward off evil spirits.

Fire customs: people jumping across fires for protection, throwing pebbles into the flames after saying a prayer, taking ashes home to sprinkle on fields for fertility, burning herbs and wildflowers for purification.

In some parts of Europe, large cartwheels were set fire to and rolled down hills.  It was said that if these midsummer wheels rolled to the bottom without going out then it would be a good harvest that year.

In Devon, flaming wheels were rolled into the stream at sunset.  If it rolled in still alight, then this was a symbol of good luck for the coming year.

 

 

 

 

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