Mid summer Solstice/Litha

Midsummer, also known as St John’s Day, is the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, and more specifically the Northern European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice or take place on a day between June 19 and June 25 and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different cultures. The Christian Church designated June 24 as the feast day of the early Christian martyr St John the Baptist, and the observance of St John’s Day begins the evening before, known as St John’s Eve. These are commemorated by many Christian denominations. In Sweden the Midsummer is such an important festivity that there have been serious discussions to make the Midsummer’s Eve into the National Day of Sweden, instead of June 6. It may also be referred to as St. Hans Day.

European midsummer-related holidays, traditions, and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin. They are particularly important in geographic Northern Europe – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – but is also very strongly observed in Poland, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Netherlands, Flanders , Ireland, parts of the United Kingdom (Cornwall especially), France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Ukraine, other parts of Europe, and elsewhere – such as Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, and also in the Southern Hemisphere (mostly in Brazil, Argentina and Australia), where this imported European celebration would be more appropriately called “Midwinter”.

Midsummer is also sometimes referred to by some Neopagans as Litha, stemming from Bede’s De temporum ratione which provides Anglo-Saxon names for the months roughly corresponding to June and July as se Ærra Liþa and se Æfterra Liþa (the “early Litha month” and the “later Litha month”) with an intercalary month of Liþa appearing after se Æfterra Liþa on leap years. The fire festival or Litha – Summer solstice – is a tradition for many neopagans.

Solstice celebrations still centered on the day of the astronomical summer solstice. Some choose to hold the rite on June 21, even when this is not the longest day of the year, and some celebrate June 24, the day of the solstice in Roman times. Although Midsummer is originally a pagan holiday, in Christianity it is associated with the nativity of John the Baptist, which is observed on the same day, June 24, in the Catholic, Orthodox and some Protestant churches. It is six months before Christmas because Luke 1:26 and Luke 1.36 imply that John the Baptist was born six months earlier than Jesus, although the Bible does not say at which time of the year this happened.In Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Quebec (Canada), the traditional Midsummer day, June 24, is a public holiday. So it was formerly also in Sweden and Finland, but in these countries it was, in the 1950s, moved to the Friday and Saturday between June 19-26. In Wicca, the longest day and shortest night of the year has not had a set date since the retirement of the 13-month Celtic calendar.

The celebration of Midsummer’s Eve (St. John’s Eve among Christians) was from ancient times a festival of the summer solstice. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southward again. In later years, witches were also thought to be on their way to meetings with other powerful beings. The solstice itself has remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since Neolithic times. it is customary for cultures following lunar calendars to place the beginning of the day on the previous eve at dusk at the moment when the Sun has set. In Sweden, Finland, Latvia and Estonia, Midsummer’s Eve is the greatest festival of the year, comparable only with Walpurgis Night, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.

Ancient Romans would hold a festival to honor the god Summanus on June 20. In the 7th century, Saint Eligius warned the recently converted inhabitants of Flanders against the age-old pagan solstice celebrations. According to the Vita by his companion Ouen, he’d say: “No Christian on the feast of Saint John or the solemnity of any other saint performs solestitia (summer solstice rites) or dancing or leaping or diabolical chants.” As Christianity entered pagan areas, midsummer celebrations came to be often borrowed and transferred into new Christian holidays, often resulting in celebrations that mixed Christian traditions with traditions derived from pagan Midsummer festivities. The 13th-century monk of Winchcomb, Gloucestershire, who compiled a book of sermons for the feast days, recorded how St. John’s Eve was celebrated in his time. Let us speak of the revels which are accustomed to be made on St. John’s Eve, of which there are three kinds. On St. John’s Eve in certain regions the boys collect bones and certain other rubbish, and burn them, and therefrom a smoke is produced on the air. They also make brands and go about the fields with the brands. Thirdly, the wheel which they roll. The fires, explained the monk of Winchcombe, were to drive away dragons, which were abroad on St. John’s Eve, poisoning springs and wells. The wheel that was rolled downhill On St John’s Day 1333 Petrarch watched women at Cologne rinsing their hands and arms in the Rhine “so that the threatening calamities of the coming year might be washed away by bathing in the river.

In Great Britain from the 13th century, Midsummer was celebrated on Midsummer Eve (St. John’s Eve, June 23) and St. Peter’s Eve (June 28) with the lighting of bonfires, feasting and merrymaking. In late 14th-century England, John Mirk of Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire, gives the following description: “At first, men and women came to church with candles and other lights and prayed all night long. In the process of time, however, men left such devotion and used songs and dances and fell into lechery and gluttony turning the good, holy devotion into sin.” The church fathers decided to put a stop to these practices and ordained that people should fast on the evening before, and thus turned waking into fasting.

However many Midsummer festivities were frowned upon by the Reformed establishment. The Chester Midsummer Watch Parade, begun in 1498, was held at every Summer Solstice in years when the Chester Mystery Plays were not performed. Despite the cancellation of the plays in 1575, the parade continued; in 1599, however, the Lord Mayor ordered that the parades be banned and the costumes destroyed. The parade was permanently banned in 1675. However Traditional Midsummer bonfires are still lit on some high hills in Cornwall (see Carn Brea and Castle an Dinas on Castle Downs). This tradition was revived by the Old Cornwall Society in the early 20th century. Bonfires in Cornwall were once common as part of Golowan, which is now celebrated at Penzance, Cornwall. This week long festival normally starts on the Friday nearest St John’s Day. Golowan lasts several days and culminates in Mazey Day. This is a revival of the Feast of St John (Gol-Jowan) with fireworks and bonfires. In England Midsummer Day, is the feast of St. John the Baptist, and is one of the quarter days in England. In recent years on the Summer Solstice, English Heritage has run a “Managed Open Access” to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice celebrations.

International Surfing Day

International Surfing Day is a worldwide celebration of the sport of surfing. The day is observed with surf contests,barbecues, film screening and other surf-Related events. International Surfing Day, is held annually on or near the date of the summer solstice—usually June 21 (20 June on leap years) it is an unofficial, environmentally conscious sports-centered holiday that celebrates the sport of surfing and the surfing lifestyle and the sustainability of ocean resources.International Surfing Day was established in 2004 by Surfing Magazine and The Surfrider Foundation International Surfing Day closely follows the spirit and intent of the World Surf Day established by the Usenet newsgroup alt.surfing in 1993.

Contests and prizes are also part of the celebration with surfing related industries donating prizes such as surfboards and wetsuits. Another purpose of the celebration is to promote the popularity of surfing and to attract new participants. Surfers also use the day to give back to the environment by organizing beach clean-ups, dune and other habitat restoration and other activities such as lobbying to maintain the recreation areas in California where surfing occurs, or Naupakaplanting in Hawaii. Direct action was also used by form of protest on this day in England to express opposition to sewage in the waters of the Gold Coast; a precarious problem for many surfers who become infected by the bacteria from open wounds from sports related injuries.

Many other International Surfing Day events have also been held In South America where it is celebrated in Argentina, Brazil,and Peru. Also in the Southern Hemisphere the holiday is observed in the Oceanian nations of Australia and New Zealand. The day is also widely observed in the American state of Hawaii, also in Oceania. In North America the surfing day is most widely observed and celebrations may be found in Canada, Costa Rica, the French Antilles, El Salvador, Mexico,and in the majority of coastal states of the United States, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, Maine Texas, New Jersey, California, Oregon, South Carolina, Florida,and Georgia.

After North America the observance has the most popularity in Europe: including in most of the coastal European Union and it is held by surf enthusiasts in France, Italy, the United Kingdom particularly Cornwall, Portugal, Spain, and Belgium. Further European celebrations are held in Norway, Israel and many other EU nations overseas. In Africa, the two French territories of: Réunion and Mayotte hold annual festivities alongside Morocco,Ghana, the Spanish insular area of the Canary Islands and South Africa. The day has also taken hold in some Asian countries like Japan, and Korea

Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys)

Brian Wilson, American singer/songwriter and musician with The Beach Boys was born 20 june 1942. He was a founding member of the Beach Boys along with his cousins , Carl, and Dennis Wilson, and their friend Al Jardine. Brian Wilson was brought up with music and from an early age The Wilson family home was a musical one, and the Wilson family often sang at get-togethers. Brian and his brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson along with Mike Love and Al Jardine first gelled as a music group in the summer of 1961, initially named the Pendletones. Brian Wilson also began to experiment with recording songs after receiving a Wollensak tape recorder on his 16th birthday.

The Beach Boys were formed After Brian was encouraged by Dennis to write a song about the local water sports craze. So Brian and Mike Love together created what would become the first single for the band, “Surfin’”. The Beach Boys formed in August 1961 and became hugely successful. Although the Beach Boys developed, an image based on the California surfing culture, Dennis was the only actual surfer in the band. During the first few years of the Beach Boys, Dennis was given the role of the drummer by his brother, Brian. He quickly learned the basics of drumming, and like the other members, he picked up more on the job.Although he rarely sang backing vocals on stage, occasionally taking a lead, his raspy-sounding vocals were a key ingredient to the group’s vocal blend in the studio, and in the late Sixties and Seventies his lead vocals lent a much-needed bluesy edge to an updating the Beach Boys’ sound, giving their music new dimensions

Brian Wilson was mainly the lead singer of the Beach Boys. However Denis Wilson sang lead vocals on the early Beach Boys recordings (“Little Girl (You’re My Miss America)” and “This Car of Mine” as well as the bridge verse on “Girls on the Beach”)and “Do You Wanna Dance?”. He also sang an impressive, faithful rendition of The Beatles’ “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.” And accompanied himself on guitar and like the other Beach Boys became a multi-instrumentalist. Often Assisted by Daryl Dragon, who collaborated on Dennis’s solo album Pacific Ocean Blue. Dennis Wilson’s first major released composition was “Little Bird,” the B-side of the “Friends” single, coupled with “Be Still”. As Brian withdrew Dennis became a major creative force within the Beach Boys, writing many of thesongs which showed cosmic Gothic overtones. such as 20/20 (1969), Sunflower (1970), “So Tough” (1972) and Holland (1973). In 1971, Dennis injured his hand and Ricky Fataar took over as the group’s drummer between 1972 and 1974. During this period Dennis acted as a co-frontman alongside Mike Love, playing keyboards and singing. In 1974 Wilson returned to drumming

Early in 1963, Dennis teamed with Brian’s former collaborator Gary Usher to form the Four-Speeds, And they released the single “RPM”/”My Stingray”. On December 4, 1970, Wilson released the solo singles”Lady” and “Sound of Fire”, under the name “Dennis Wilson & Rumbo”, this was later covered by American Spring and released as the B-side to their single “Shyin’ Away.”. Wilson released his debut solo album Pacific Ocean Blue in 1977. His collaborators on the album included Daryl Dragon (the ‘Captain’ of Captain & Tennille) and Gregg Jakobson, which became popular. Pacific Ocean Blue’s follow-up album, Bambu, included the songs: “It’s Not Too Late”, “Constant Companion”, “All Alone”, and “Under The Moonlight”. Both PacificBlue and Bambu were rereleased in 2008. Later years saw Wilson battling alcohol abuse. Smoking had also taken a toll on his voice, although the resultant gravelly effect helped define him as a singer.

Some of the Beach Boys’ biggest hits, include “Surfin’ Safari”, “Surfin’ USA“, “Shut Down”, “Little Deuce Coupe“, “Be True to Your School”, “Little Saint Nick”, “Fun, Fun, Fun“, “I Get Around”, “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)”, “Little Honda”, “Dance, Dance, Dance” and “California Girls“. Mike Love wrote or co-wrote lyrics to many of the Beach Boys songs, mostly with the themes of surfing, cars or love, but also memorable ballads such as “The Warmth of the Sun”. The Beach Boys continue to perform to the present day. Brian Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, along with the other founding Beach Boy members. The Beach Boys also released the abum “THat’s Why God Made the Radio” to celebrate their 50th anniversary and embarked on a 50-date World-Wide tour.