Despite the fact that our Southeast Louisiana weather has been feeling summery for some time now, today is the actual “first day of summer”. From
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/166580/20110621/june-21-summer-solstice-summer-solstice-2011-equinox-solstice-first-day-of-summer-2011-summer-longes.htm this info:
The summer solstice, which is also called as 'midsummer,' would result in the longest day and the shortest night of the year.
On the day of summer solstice, the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and this happens when the Earth's North Pole is tilted the most toward the Sun.
The word 'Solstice' comes from the Latin word solstitium, meaning "sol" (the sun) and "stit" (standing). The Sun's position at noon actually changes very little in the days surrounding the solstice, hence the concept of the sun "standing still," National Weather Service says.
From http://www.chiff.com/a/summer-solstice.htm, here is some Summer Solstice info:
Summer Solstice Fun Facts
- Pagans called the Midsummer moon the "Honey Moon" for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice.
- Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.
- Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called 'chase-devil', which is known today as St. John's Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.
More about summer solstice around the Web:
On the Web, discover more about the topic, where & how Summer Solstice is celebrated around the world along with related history, folklore and rituals that mark the much-awaited long, bright days of summer ....
Summer Solstice - Good overview of its history, customs & holidays, illustrations, date & time charts and related links, from Wikipedia.
Summer Solstice Celebrations - Ancient & Modern - Skip past the intrusive ads for a detailed discussion about how the day has been celebrated over the centuries, and in many cultures, with suggested reading and related links.
BBC Religion - Summer Solstice - A brief overview of Pagan rituals and ceremonies with related links to more facts & information.
Weird Wilstshire - Summer Solstice - Archived pictures with a report on one particularly successful UK sunrise celebration, including related links & online forum.
The Pagan Festival of Litha - The origins of Druidic Summer Solstice celebrations and their meaning in the natural cycle of seasons.