The Pagan Start of Summer

The Pagan Start of Summer

Summertime and the livin' is easy...or so the song goes. But when exactly does summer start for those of us who follow the old pagan traditions? In popular culture, we tend to think of summer as beginning on the summer solstice, or Midsummer's Day. However, ancient pagan cultures saw the beginning of summer a bit differently. Let's take a quick look!

To our pagan friends, summer kicked off with the festival of Beltane on May 1st. This holiday marked the halfway point between the spring equinox and summer solstice. Beltane celebrations involved fire and fertility rituals to usher in the summer. It was seen as a time when the veil between worlds was thinnest, so fairies and spirits could be contacted. What better way to start off the sunny season?

The summer solstice, or Litha, occurring around June 21st is considered Midsummer's Day on the pagan calendar. This is when the Sun reaches its highest point and the days are at their longest. Since this lines up with the middle of summer, it makes sense that our modern culture adopted it as the official start of the season. Gotta love that sunshine and vitamin D!

To our pagan pals, however, the summer solstice marks the point where the Sun begins to decline once more toward winter. So Litha rites often honor the Sun at its height and encourage its return. Fires, herbs, and rituals promoting love and fertility are common ways to celebrate on Midsummer's Day.

For contemporary pagans who follow the Wheel of the Year, Litha is one of the four solar festivals along with Yule, Ostara, and Mabon. It's a significant point on the never-ending cycle of seasons. And while it may not technically be the start of summer, it's still a big party!

So in summary, while pop culture sees the summer solstice as summer's beginning, historical pagans considered Beltane on May 1st as the real kickoff to the sunny season. But Summer Solstice/Litha rituals remain important for honoring the sun and enjoying those long, warm days and nights. No matter how you celebrate it, may your own summer be filled with sunshine, magic, and positive energy!

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