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Midsummer Mysteries

1 Jul

There are so many myths and legends surrounding the venerable old festival of Midsummer, which has been one of the important solar events throughout the history of mankind. According to folklore it is the time that the fairies and nature spirits are very active and cross back and forth between our realm and theirs to play tricks on unsuspecting mortals. Litha, which is another name for Midsummer Day, is a celebration that has been observed for centuries, in one form or another, in the ancient pagan religion of the British Isles. Midsummer is especially important in the cultures of Scandinavia, Estonia and Latvia, where it is the most celebrated holiday apart from Christmas. In those parts it is said that, if young people pick flowers at Midsummer, they will dream of their future spouse. On the other side of the world, an old Maori proverb states that if you turn your face to the sun at Midsummer, the shadows will fall behind you. Perhaps most famously, William Shakespeare himself utilised the many mythological and fairytale associations of this time of year in penning his comedy romance, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With Midsummer not long past, perhaps now is as good a time as any to ask why the period is so deeply rooted in superstition, myth and legend in so many nations.

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