[ExI] Happy Solstice!

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Thu Jun 21 12:28:21 UTC 2007

Happy June Solstice [1] to you Northerners and Southerners (hemispheres,
that is)!! Celebration time!

Midsummer Night  [2]
by Zinta Aistars

One night each year, that longest night
between spring and summer
when the sun never sets,
only slips along the horizon,
a glowing orb rippling red
across a dark slide
into tomorrow-
between that rise and fall
we play, children all, and sing:
ligo, ligoŠ
skirts falling heavy
around bare legs, flowers tucked
into our hair, wreaths of oak leaves
falling across the gleam in the eyes
of our men-until a hand
reaches for mine, and we race,
leap, over the bonfire,
flames lapping our heels while we dare
the gods to test our nerve,
our desire to challenge fire,
the night, and our unwillingness
to ever die.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice

[2] http://zintaaistars.blogspot.com/2005_06_01_archive.html

The annual celebration of the summer solstice, known as Jani is
generally viewed as one of the most important Latvian holidays. Jani is
celebrated on June 23 and 24. The traditions and rituals associated with
the celebration of Jani are deeply rooted in ancient Latvian folklore
and continue to have deep symbolic meaning for the celebrants.
Participants gather flowers, grasses and oak leaves which are used to
make wreaths and decorate the farmstead, house and farm animals. Jani
night activities include the singing of special Jani songs (Ligo songs)
around a ceremonial bonfire. Home-brewed beer and a special Jani caraway
seed cheese are an essential part of this colourful holiday ritual.


Amara Graps, PhD      www.amara.com
Associate Research Scientist, Planetary Science Institute (PSI), Tucson
INAF Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario (IFSI), Roma, Italia

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