Let’s Celebrate the Summer Solstice and Honor Its Goddesses

by Emma Tilden

By now I’m sure we’re all remembering how beautiful the sight of an AC working away in a window is.  We’ve started to dread going outside into the heat and humidity.  Yep, summer’s well on its way; in fact, today is the summer solstice! The Summer Solstice is the day when the sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky, meaning that we have daylight for longer— though the hours of sunlight depend on location, some areas will see 16 hours’ worth of light. 

The celebration of the summer solstice is nothing new. The ancient Romans celebrated the Festival of Vestalia, in honor of Vesta, their Goddess of the Hearth and virginity, every year from June 7th to June 15th. During the Vestalia, the inner sanctum of the Vestal temple was opened to married women in addition to the Vestales, or Vestal Virgins, who guarded the temple’s sacred flame throughout the rest of the year.  The Vestalia offered the opportunity for all women to visit the sanctum and make offerings to the goddess. 

Vesta and Juno, the goddess who watched over women and marriage, were sacred to Roman women.  Though the Matronalia, the festival in honor of Juno, was celebrated during March, we derive the word, “June” from her name.  And since June is a common month for weddings, we might as well be honoring her now too. 

So go out and enjoy the long days!  Appreciate the warm weather!  Offer a sacrifice to the ancient Roman goddesses!  Or stay inside and enjoy the AC. 

How do you plan to celebrate?  Comment below!  


Images courtesy of naturefriends.la, intellectualtakeout.com, Solipsist, and brooklynmuseum.org.  

This post was originally published on June 21, 2014

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