This was a busy weekend, and I don’t think I knew just how busy it really
was until it was all over. There was a lot to celebrate, it seems. The two major
celebrations that most people are familiar with were Fathers Day and the Summer
Solstice, each just happening to occur on the same day – Sunday, June 21st.
But I digress; my first celebration began Saturday evening, in Hyattsville at
my friends Bill and Mike’s. It was the first celebratory gathering this year
of the gang who helps to produce Goatman Hollow. The producers hosted a fabulous
cookout, haunted croquet that followed the path of last year’s haunt through
the woods, Goatman volleyball, hot tub Marco-Polo and last, but
certainly not least, an end of the evening ghost story telling in a firefly
enchanted forest. It was truly magical. Merci beau coup for the invite – I had
Father’s Day: My father has been gone 4 years now, and I remembered him all
through out the day and wished that there had been more time with him. I think
that is the way we all feel about loved ones who have passed on. My friend Rich
and I went to Blobs Park for a German celebration of multiple things: Father’s
Day, the Summer Solstice, belated May pole and many old world pagan customs, such as hopping over the bonfire to precipitate either a marriage or fertility (we left before this quaint custom began, can you guess why?) Our friend Tim performed with the Alt. Washingtonia , a local German dance/band group. Their performances included traditional slap dances, cowbell serenades, Alp horns and much polka-ing. Tim also celebrated father’s day with his daughter Trystam.
So this weekend was the kick-off for Goatman Hollow, Father’s Day, the official start of summer, the longest daylight day of the year, (the daytime hours are at a maximum in the Northern hemisphere, and night time is at a minimum.) the summer solstice, and Midsummer’s Eve. Here’s what our ancestors may have celebrated during this time of year:
- Ancient Celts: Druids, celebrated Alban Heruin (“Light of
the Shore”). It was midway between the spring Equinox (Alban Eiler; “Light
of the Earth”) and the fall Equinox This midsummer festival celebrates the
apex of Light, sometimes symbolized in the crowning of the Oak King, God of
the waxing year. At his crowning, the Oak King falls to his darker aspect,
the Holly King, God of the waning year…”
- Ancient China: Their summer solstice ceremony celebrated
the earth, the feminine, and the yin forces. It complemented the winter solstice,
which celebrated the heavens, masculinity and yang forces.
- Ancient Gaul: The Midsummer celebration was called Feast
of Epona, named after a mare goddess who personified fertility, sovereignty
and agriculture. She was portrayed as a woman riding a mare.
- Ancient Germanic, Slav and Celtic tribes in Europe: Ancient
Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires. “It was the night of fire festivals
and of love magic, of love oracles and divination. It had to do with lovers
and predictions, when pairs of lovers would jump through the luck-bringing
flames…” It was believed that the crops would grow as high as the couples
were able to jump. Through the fire’s power, “…maidens would find out about
their future husband, and spirits and demons were banished.” Another function
of bonfires was to generate sympathetic magic: giving a boost to the sun’s
energy so that it would remain potent throughout the rest of the growing season
and guarantee a plentiful harvest.
knew we crammed all this celebration into a weekend. No wonder I’m tired today!