I'm taking part in the SFR Brigade Midsummer Blog Hop, and there are some fantastic prizes up for grabs.
' Starquest'. Most blog hop participants are giving away individual prizes, AND there's an overall blog hop grand prize and runner up prize. There are more details about the prizes and how you can enter, at the end of this post.
The point of this event is to celebrate Mid summer and The Summer Solstice (although in the UK today, it's grey and damp and very unlike the middle of summer!) According to Wikipedia, 'a solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year as the Sun reaches its highest or lowest excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere.'
My beloved Wales was the inspiration for the settings of most of my stories, including my Fantasy 'Dancing With Fate', in which I sent a Greek muse to 5th Century Wales. That was fun to write. But what has that to do with Mid Summer and the Solstice? I hear you ask? Well, not a lot, apart from the fact that the druids in Wales would have held many rituals in celebration of the event, as well as the Druids at Stonehenge.
However, late one spring, I watched the mist rolling over the mountains in front of my home in Wales, at sunset, and in my mind was transported to the planet which became a major setting in my first SF romance novel 'Starquest' and when I wrote a sequel 'Children Of The Mist', it became the main focus of the whole story. I named the planet Niflheim', after the land of cold and mist in the Norse legends.
The people have a fairly simple, rural way of life, and although not unduly superstitious, they would certainly enjoy celebrating the longest day on their world, although mid summer on all areas of the planet would still see vast areas of snow covered landscape, and chilly temperatures with occasional snow flurries! So the midsummer solstice celebrations would be quite different to those we experience here on Earth!
Here's a trailer I made for 'Children Of The Mist'.
On our Earth, Midsummer's Day and the Summer Solstice are not on the same day.
The longest day in the northern hemisphere is either the 20th or 21st of June, whilst Midsummer's Day in Europe is traditionally on 24 June.
This discrepancy is said to have been caused by the variants of the Julian Calendar and the Tropical Year further confused by the Gregorian Calendar.
Midsummer's Eve is a time associated with witches, magic, fairies and dancing. On the eve of Midsummer's Day, many bonfires were once lit all over the country. This was in praise of the sun, for the days were getting shorter and the sun appeared to be getting weaker, so people would light fires to try and strengthen the sun.
Practice of this ancient ritual, which also includes a Summer Solstice Circle Dance, is now mainly confined to Cornwall, the West Country, and London's Hampstead Heath.
Roses are of special importance on Midsummer's Eve. It is said that any rose picked on Midsummer's Eve, or Midsummer's Day will keep fresh until Christmas.
At midnight on Midsummer's Eve, young girls should scatter rose petals before them and say:
Rose leaves, rose leaves,
Rose leaves I strew.
He that will love me
Come after me now.
Then the next day, Midsummer's Day, their true love will visit them.
Right, back to the PRIZES:
The Grand Prize is a a KINDLE! Runner up gets 20 SFR titles and a gift card. The winners will be chosen using random.org.
So to maximise your chances, Go! Visit those other blogs and leave comments!