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Elizabethan Celebration Activities for Midsummer Nights

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Lauren B

on 10 November 2014

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Transcript of Elizabethan Celebration Activities for Midsummer Nights

Elizabethan celebration activities for Midsummer nights,
June 23rd

Where and when it began
Modern Times
What is the celebration?
When is the celebration?

Shakespeare - A Midsummer’s night's Dream presentation

By: Max, Dominick, Erin & Lauren
What did they eat?
Cool facts:
The Elizabethan's celebrated Midsummer on what is most commonly known as Midsummers eve or Saint Johns eve.

Midsummers eve takes place on June 23rd. That is the day before June 24th, which back in Shakespeare's time was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
Think of it this way...

Mid summers is like Christmas in July. Only here, Christmas eve is bigger than Christmas day.
June 23rd is mid summers eve, the night before the longest day of the year
June 24th is mid summers, the longest day of the year

June 24th isn't the real summer solstice. The summer solstice nowadays is on June 21st.

the Elizabethan's used the Julian calendar and we now use the Gregorian one.
Elizabethan's held this Celtic festival to thank the sun for having many days of warm weather .

After this day, all the days would be darker. It was considered "the climax of summer"
There were many fruits and breads at this festival. It was a picnic feast, so the food was more casual. But still, the most important part of any European festival is the alcohol.
Meats and cheeses were a luxury in Shakespeare's time
For the most part, only the wealthy ate meat (lamb, hare, veal and chicken were the most popular)
Wine was the most popular drink
Is also the birthday of St. John

At this festival, they often burned bones in their large fires leading to the term 'bonfire'

There are many superstitions about Midsummers eve, for example, legend states if you pick a rose on the night of midsummer's eve the rose will stay fresh till Christmas.

Another one states that at midnight on Midsummer's eve, if a young woman scatters rose petals all around and says “rose leaves, rose leaves, rose leaves I strew, he that will love me come after me now” on midsummer's day their true love will visit them

It is said that if you spend Midsummer eve at a sacred site (unknown), you could either gain supernatural powers, or be spirited away by fairies.

People often placed vervain, trefoil, rue and roses under a pillow in hopes of having good dreams about future lovers.

Many ancient monuments such as stone circles are aligned to the sunrise on Midsummer's Day. The most famous and well known one is Stonehenge

This celebration is still very important to Pagans today. They would celebrate the solstice at Stonehenge, in Wiltshire. To them, Midsummer's Day, and all the light that it brings, signifies the sacred Awen. Many parts of Europe still today celebrate the middle of summer by holding similar festivals.

In the catholic church, we know it as St. Johns day and St. Johns eve
Midsummer's eve celebrations date back to the 13th century!

Irish Catholics, the Polish and the Pagans are said to be the first people to celebrate Midsummer. They would light up floating lanterns on Midsummer's night, to keep the entire day bright. In Poland, they still celebrate Midsummer's eve this way.

Family, friends and neighbors from all around would gather and light massive bonfires, symbolizing the regeneration of the sun. People would sing and dance around the fires, as well as tell folktales about the saints, and others about all the magical elements on the forest this night.
Full transcript