Today, June 21st, is the first day of summer, or specifically, the summer solstice.
So what does this mean to you?
Well, my kids know today is the first day of summer and both are expecting something to “poof” at 1:16pm when summer becomes official. I tried telling then that the word “solstice” comes from Latin and essentially means “Sun-standing”, and that today meant more thousands of years ago then it does today, but they still have questions.
So what information about the first day of summer can you tell your 4 and 6 year olds… Well, try this;
Today is the day – and 1:16pm is the time – when the Earth’s axial tilt is leaning the most towards the sun, resulting in the longest time from sunset to sunrise, or the longest day of the year (and shortest night).
In a little more detail – today, the North Pole tilts directly at the Sun (be prepared to answer questions about poor Santa) and the Sun is at it furthest point from the equator.
What you might not want to tell them;
“Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called ‘chase-devil’, which is known today as St. John’s Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.”
Thank you to http://www.chiff.com/a/summer-solstice.htm
You can also explain to them that many, many years ago ancient peoples used to celebrate the magical sun as a recognition of sign of the fertility, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around this day.
So go find a Pagen or Native Canadian / American and ask them how they celebrate this wonderful day and if you’re lucky, you might just get invited to join.