It’s almost time for the summer solstice here, in Ireland. A tradition that goes back to Pagan times, the Summer Solstice is a time of celebration and new beginnings. It’s a great time to embrace Irish heritage and appreciate the culture. This year, the summer solstice takes place on Tuesday, June 21st. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming summer event.
What is the Summer Solstice?
The summer solstice is the official start of the summer season in Ireland, as well as in many other parts of the world. Aside from marking the official debut of summer, the summer solstice is primarily known for being the longest period of daylight out of the entire year. This is because the sun hits its highest point of the year on this day, ultimately resulting in warmer temperatures and longer days for the remainder of the season.
Though Ireland will experience the summer solstice this year on June 21, 2022, at 05:13, the solstice as a whole takes place between June 20th and June 22nd.
What Does Ireland Call the Summer Solstice?
While referring to this popular day of the year as the summer solstice is commonplace in Ireland, it wasn’t always that way. In the past, this day has been referred to as MidSummer’s Day. It’s now become a tradition in many towns and cities across Ireland to hold annual midsummer festivals that include music, food, fairs, and even fireworks.
Going all the way back to the Druids, it was also referred to as Alban Hefin, which means, “Light of Summer” or “Light of the Shore.” The light of summer was seen at the solstice for shining as bright and as long as it would all year. When it comes to the latter interpretation of the name, the druids valued the shore, or the coast, as a place in-between worlds since it was where land, sky, and sea would meet.
History of the Summer Solstice in Ireland
The celebration of the summer solstice in Ireland goes back thousands of years. Starting back in ancient times, the Pagans believed that the summer solstice was when the sun was at its highest, which made it powerful. Due to this, the summer solstice became a sacred time of year. It also became a time to banish evil spirits with the light of the sun. Ancient people would also use this to pray for a good harvest since the solstice occurred half of the way through the season in which crops were already growing.
Pagans would start bonfires to ward off evil spirits while also singing, dancing, and feasting. Lovers would hold hands and jump over bonfires as it was thought to bring luck to their relationship. It was also believed that the higher the lovers jumped, the higher the crops for that season would grow. They also prayed to Gráinne who was the Solar Sun Goddess and the Winter Queen. It was believed that she would care for seeds in the summertime while protecting them from harm during the harsh winter months. Overall, it was seen as a time for new beginnings that allowed for change.
In Neolithic ties, the Hill of Tara was believed by those who worshiped that it was an entrance into a world of eternal joy and was also the home of the gods. Now, every year on June 21st, hundreds gather at the Hill and watch the sunrise to mark the occasion of the summer solstice.
How to Celebrate the Summer Solstice in Ireland
There are many ways in which many areas throughout Ireland celebrate the summer solstice. In fact, there are plenty of cities and towns that have their own “Midsummer Carnivals” that include concerts, fairs, and fireworks to celebrate the solstice. These are fun ways that entire populations can celebrate the summer solstice.
Many people also have their own bonfires. Because this is such a tradition, there are few restrictions on what time of day a bonfire is allowed to occur, making it a great way to celebrate the summer solstice at whatever time of the day you wish. In a lot of rural areas, bonfires are usually started on hilltops, which is a tradition that dates back to pagan times and is now usually associated with St. John’s Night, which coincides with the summer solstice.
Since the summer solstice is an occasion for celebration, there are many ways you can celebrate on your own or with friends and family. How do you go about celebrating the summer solstice on your own? Here are a few suggestions we have for how you can celebrate the summer solstice this year:
- Enjoy some traditional music down at your local pub to celebrate the occasion. There’s nothing quite listening to traditional Irish music while celebrating such a momentous occasion.
- Check out your local arts center or Irish center to learn more about Irish culture. Getting a deeper understanding of Irish culture can help you appreciate the traditions of the summer solstice that much more.
- Plan a giant meal of traditional Irish foods like meat, potatoes, and veggies so you can partake in Irish culture. Taking part in a tradition that goes all the way back to Pagan times can really enrich your appreciation for the summer solstice.
- Embrace the culture by trying some Irish music lessons or dance lessons and learn how to perform traditional Irish song and dance. It’s a way to understand Irish culture without having to dive into a history book.
- Party the Irish way with food, friends, a bonfire, and talking about Irish culture. Live in the culture and appreciate it. This is probably the best way to enjoy the traditions of the Summer Solstice.
The summer solstice is a great Irish tradition that is a fun way to kick off your summer. So go to your local Midsummer Carnival, grab a plate of your favorite Irish food, go to a bonfire, add the Celtic knot to your outfit, and enjoy Irish culture as it’s meant to be on the longest and first day of summer.
Celebrate in Style with Some Celtic Jewelry
If you’re looking for another beautiful way to celebrate the summer solstice, wearing traditional Celtic jewelry is the perfect way to do so. Celtic jewelry is crafted with so much history, so it’s not surprising that donning some of the most popular Celtic styles such as traditional knots is a great way to celebrate a time of year that’s so rich in Irish lure and history.