Sunny delights

Midwinter is a major time of year for quite a few religions, and there are an assortment of myths set at that time of year which serve to structure ritual and thought for adherents of those religions. There are also more secular midwinter tales ~ Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' is arguably far more iconic and influential a tale than many mythological stories.
Midsummer, by contrast, has fewer religious stories attached to it. There are a number of Central European stories which associate this time of year with healing ceremonies linked to water ~ be that rivers, lakes or the morning dew. It is also a time when various fairy troops ride abroad and can, if treated with proper respect, impart blessings to those lucky enough to encounter them.
Goidelic mythology has one battle that takes place at midsummer, beyond that the only other mentions are really connected to Manannan mac Lir the son of the sea (that water symbolism again) who's tribute must be paid by the people of the Isle of Man carrying bundles of meadow grass and reeds up to high places (possibly to form bonfires), a practice said to have continued into Victorian times according to Sophia Morrison's folklore collection. The fairy queen Aine (sometimes described as Manannan's wife and other times daughter) was reputed to live atop Cnoc Aine in Limerick and help the villagers roundabout during the Famine. She was honoured at the feast of midsummer.
If an author were to do for midsummer what Dickens did for midwinter, and create a tale that captured its strands, weaving them into a contemporary yet magical setting ~ what would it be like?


  1. I suspect the first problem is to work out the strands of midsummer! To me it always seems like the a time between times - the energy of Spring has settled down to a steady state; the Winter weather has long gone but the really hot weather hasn't quite got here; the early travellers are heading off for holidays, but most of us are still looking forward to a break in August. I believe we traditionally holiday in August because there is little that needs to be done on the farms (but, being a confirmed townie, that may be a misunderstanding) so it may just be that people have always been a bit too busy to really mark the Summer Solstice. I don't know - just my thoughts on the topic.

  2. That is a fascinating challenge. I shall stash it away and poke it form time to time on the offchance that something occurs. :-)


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