The Longest Day Today 20th June
Not that you would notice today but today the 20th June is the longest day. Official the middle day of summer.
So what has happened to the good weather?
Temperatures are still quite good but where has the sun gone?
And tonight watch the full moon which is supposed to be quite spectacular, it is the first time for quite a few years that the full moon has happened on this day.
Hundreds of years ago today was a very special day known as the Celtic fire festival, this represented the middle of summer, and the shortening of the days on their gradual decline into winter.
Midsummer is traditionally celebrated on either the 23rd or 24th of June, although the longest day actually falls on the 20th of June. The importance of the day to our ancestors can be traced back many thousands of years, and many stone circles and other ancient monuments are aligned to the sunrise on Midsummer's Day. Probably the most famous alignment is that at Stonehenge, where the sun rises over the heel stone, framed by the giant trilithons on Midsummer morning.
In antiquity midsummer fires were lit in high places all over the countryside, and in some areas of Scotland Midsummer fires were still being lit well into the 18th century. This was especially true in rural areas, where the weight of reformation thinking had not been thoroughly assimilated. It was a time when the domestic beasts of the land were blessed with fire, generally by walking them around the fire in a sun-wise direction. It was also customary for people to jump high through the fires, folklore suggesting that the height reached by the most athletic jumper, would be the height of that years harvest.
The festival is still important to pagans today, including the modern day druids who celebrate the solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire.
“We had better make the most of the light nights as we are now on the count down into winter” says Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.