local-kiwi-alien

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Summer Solstice

21st June 2017

Summer solstice in Greece takes place (took place) at 07:23:25

We had 14 hours 48 minutes and 13 seconds of daylight.  Tomorrow we'll have 2 seconds less.

Today, Wednesday, was the longest day of the year.  Odd to think that the days will be getting shorter and winter will be on it's way, although we won't actually notice any difference until September. 

I have just been reading about those who today follow the 12 Gods of Ancient Greece, the Olympians.  They consider Greece to be under Christian occupation.  21st June is a day of celebration for them.  Their New Year began (begins) on the first new moon after the summer solstice. 




In ancient times there were processions and offerings, especially to the Goddess Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, and the High Priestesses.   The ancient Olympic games began exactly one month after the solstice.




This midsummer solstice was celebrated everywhere from Stonehenge to ancient Gaul, Scandanavia, North and South America and China. 

The solstices were a part of the circle/cycle of life.  Down in New Zealand they are celebrating the winter solstice and the rebirth of the sun.

This year in Greece the solstice really does seem to be the beginning of summer.  We have had weeks of rain and lower (not low) temperatures.   Today it seems the rain is over, temperatures are rising and our first heatwave is forecast for this weekend.

In a few days time it is the local fiesta of St John of the Fleas.  Actually the Greek orthdox church celebrates the  birth of John the Baptist.  It is also the day when we should burn our now dried-out May Day wreaths at crossroads.  A bonfire which young children jump over three times to be free of fleas and nits during the hot dry summer to come.



Our wreath is ready for burning but will probably just be tossed in the rubbish this year


We used to do exactly this years ago when the children were small but fire restrictions nowadays means that bonfires are forbidden.  20 years ago we used to build huge fires out in the street and kids and adults alike would drag out old furniture and planks of wood to keep the fire burning.  One year, the last I think that we were able to celebrate this way, not only did the firebrigade turn up but also the Mayor, to see what was happening.  



Preparing the fire and pulling nails out of old boards


The following year the Mayor took over our street party and it became more civilised.  Nowadays it is a festival of song and dance arranged by a group called the Poriotisses  (the Women of Poros).  Very tame.  

10 comments:

  1. Bloody politicians. Ruin everything!
    Sounds like a great party to me lol

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    1. Yep, another great party! BBQ on the road, crates of beer, a radio and lots of 'kefi'. Jumping the fire got a bit hazardous but no one actually fell in!

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  2. I think you should burn it anyway. Traditions are important.

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    1. I think we burnt it on the BBQ last year. I can always keep it till november and put it on the first winter bonfire. We've done that before. Meanwhile it is a dried flower arrangement hanging outside the door

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  3. I love learning about your traditions. I'd be a bit wary of the whole jumping over the fire thing! But nobody wants fleas, do they? -Jenn

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    1. Well worth the risk. Growing up, my girls NEver had fleas!

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  4. Interesting. So many celebrations you have!

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  5. Darn those pesky fleas and nits! We went to friends and they invited everyone in their street it was massive. Ive only really just recovered! lol

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    1. I wondered what your celebrations would be like! You had a damn good time....much better than us!!

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