(aka Midsummer; Lissa or Lady Day)
This page was created by Marc Carlson
It was last edited 9 June 2004
This is the summer solstice, the "Noon" of the
year's day, and the longest day of the year. Light and life abound, and
we joyfully turn outward, experiencing the joys of plenty, tasting the
first fruits of the season.
Litha is a holiday recognized by many neoPagan and Wiccan groups, though
not all. For example, the original Gardnerian rituals had no place for
a Solstice Ritual. I don't have a clue when the name began to be used by
modern Pagans. It is one of the four "Lesser Sabbats".
Litha is pretty much pronounced just like it looks (although if you
want to make a stab at a Scandinavian sound, it'll be more like "leetha"
with the "th" more like a aspirated "t"
Litha is Norse or Anglo-Saxon for "longest day." The term "Lady
Day" refers to the Goddess, although the name is more commonly used to
refer to "Annunciation of the Virgin Mary" on March 25.
Longest day of the Year, it has various meanings for different traditions.
Beginning of the reign of the Holly King.
St. John the Baptist is the 'the Oak King' (compared to his balance
Jesus, the 'Holly King'), and many statues show him with horns (as with
Moses). He had a strong connection to the Wilderness, and some of
his more exotic medieval iconography may be related to the common interpretation
of the Jack in the Green, the Woodwose, the Wild Man of the Wood, the Greenman.
It is a recognition that the days will soon be growing shorter, and of
the eventual victory of the dark against the sun.
It is thought by some today that the Sun-God meets his death at the summer
solstice, but others believe that he is at his Peak today, and will not
die until the Equinox.
Big Bonfire Day.
Festival of Anu when torches of hay and straw are waved over crops and
Festival of the Three Mothers (Anu, Brigit, Macha)
In some places the "Feast of Beltan" held at the solstice with Baal Fires,
driving of cattle and supernatural creatures.
Great Bonfires are lit to help change the course of the Sun.
Burning Wheels are rolled down hills.
Burning disks are hurled at the sun.
In some traditions the sacred marriage of the Goddess and God is celebrated.
The two chief icons of the holiday are the spear (symbol of the Sun-God
in his glory) and the summer cauldron (symbol of the Goddess in her bounty).
A celebration of the Creation of Rhea, the Cretan Mother Goddess.
The festival of the Chinese Goddess of Light, Li.
This is historically, not a "Celtic" holiday, but more generally is appears
to have been more of Germanic origin)