The first day of summer is the summer solstice, and it is the longest day (as in daylight) of the year. We all celebrate it in our own ways. To young people, it means time off from school. For many of us, it’s time outside, vacations etc.
Amidst all our summer joy, we often forget that after this day, the days start getting shorter.
But , what is lore anyway?
Folklore (or lore) consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, mythology, stories, tall tales, and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group.
There is also an archaic meaning for folklore of a lesson, something that is learned, a traditional belief. (lore from Old English lār; akin to Old High German lēra doctrine, and Old English leornian to learn)
Now, what have we learned through folklore about summer?
Deep snow in winter, tall grain in summer. – Estonian proverb
When the summer birds take their flight, goes the summer with them.
If it rains on Midsummer’s Eve, the filbert crops will be spoiled . – Unknown
One swallow never made a summer.
Easterly winds from May 19 to the 21 indicate a dry summer.
If there are many falling stars during a clear summer evening, expect thunder. If there are none, expect fine weather.
In Ancient Egypt, the summer solstice coincided with the rising of the Nile River. As it was crucial to predict this annual flooding, the Egyptian New Year began at this important solstice.
Many European cultures hold Midsummer celebrations at the solstice, which include gatherings at Stonehenge and the lighting of bonfires on hilltops.
In centuries past, the Irish would cut hazel branches on Solstice Eve to be used in searching for gold, water, and precious jewels.
The fairy, Áine the Radiance was a fairy much celebrated at the summer solstice which the Christians called Saint John’s Day. Áine is an Irish goddess of summer, wealth and sovereignty. She is associated with midsummer and the sun, and is sometimes represented by a red mare. She was deemed the most powerful fairy in Ulster and she was also a fairy queen of South Munster. This fairy or goddess was held to be friendly, and, indeed, more than friendly, to men. Whether or not she were the mother of the gods, she is claimed as first ancestress by half a dozen famous Irish families.