The Summer Solstice in Ireland
The summer solstice is celebrated on June 21st each year. It is the day of the year with the most daylight. The Summer Solstice occurs when the Earth tilts on its axis to the closest point to the sun. The sun can rise very early in the morning as early as 4AM and not set until late at night near 11PM!
It is an event that has been celebrated in Ireland for thousands of years. This tradition dates right back to the Celts when it was one of the eight sacred Celtic events where they would hold a variety of customs to celebrate. In fact, its very beginnings date right back to Neolithic times around 5000 years ago and has been an annual ritual ever since. Every year, at the Hill of Tara amongst other sites, people gather to honour this ancient tradition.
The Celts believed that it was a time that their Goddess should be honoured. This Goddess went by many names but in Ireland her name was Etain. It was an important time of the year to celebrate and some of the reasons were to banish evil spirits, worship for a good harvest later in the year, and for fertility.
The Celts certainly knew how to have a good party as they would hold bonfires, feasts and lots of dancing. Events which the Irish are still great at celebrating!
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