Litha, aka midsommer’s day,midsummer’s day, summer solstice, alban hefin, sun blessing, the gathering day, St. John’s day, Feill-Sheathain and summer tide, is on of the ‘quarter-days’ or lesser sabbats celebrated on the summer solstice.
Litha is the height of our daylight selves, the longest day of the year. It is a time of abundance and fertility, the roots of spring are deepening for the harvest, everywhere to be seen is the fruits of spring, babies, lovers, marriages. The sun pours out the highest quota of energy yet, and the moon kisses us with a blessed cool during the warm nights. Litha is the midpoint of our germination period between planting (Beltane) and the beginning of harvest (Lughnassadh).
Litha is balance, a time for both work and play. Work, because there is much still needed to be done for harvest, and play, because the waning year begins, and a long hard winter approaches. At Litha we honor both the Sun God and the Pregnant Goddess.
Traditionally, Litha was celebrated by entire villages or clans, who would gather for feasts,dancing, and the ceremonial bonfire. Litha bonfires are considered to be bringers of luck, happy marriages and abundance. People often jumped over the Litha bonfire to ensure all these things. Symbolically, the Litha bonfire is the light that will carry us through the coming darkness, and be rekindled on the opposite side of the sacred calender: Yule.
The food served at Litha is all about fresh fruits and vegetables, and as much as wont be used for storage come winter. Meats are not as popular at Litha, for the high fat content is not needed during the pleasant tides of Litha, and fresh food from the ground will be lean come the winter. Honey, lemons, summer squash, ale and mead are all popular traditions for Litha.
Women wear garlands in their hair or crowns of flowers. The yellow blossom of St. John’s Wort is a common sight, and everywhere the natural abundance of the mother can be seen. Litha is perfect time to gather friends and family, pick wild flowers, eat wonderful organic raw food and bask in the warmth of the sun. Litha is also a time for divination, wildcrafting and herbwifery.
Here are some delicious Lithaesque recipes: