A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Monday of the Holy Spirit. In Greek Orthodox Churches, Holy Spirit Monday ends a three-day religious celebration, joyously celebrated by some as the Second Pascha (Easter) on the day after the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles in Jerusalem to complete the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit on the birthday of the Church 50 days after the 2 May Pascha. This Whit Monday start of the Afterfeast (extension of the celebration) of Holy Pentecost is celebrated in Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Ukraine, amongst other countries, the date being different from the Western church Whit Monday on 24 May due to the different methods of calculating the date of Easter. On this first of the seven days of the Afterfeast of Holy Pentecost, many churches hold special services with the same hymns as on the day of Holy Pentecost and special canons to the Holy Spirit chanted at Compline and Matins. Romanians celebrate Pentecost (Rusalii, rose feast) with Căluşarii’s dance for healing and protection against mythical creatures and Ukrainians used to consecrate wells to protect villages from mermaids and evil spirits. On 27 June, the Feast of All Saints on the 57th day after Pascha will be for those who partook of the waters of piety and harvested the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Image: timeanddate,com.
Midsummer Solstice. (Pagan/Wiccan Litha, Druid Alban Hefin). On this longest day of the northern year, the light of the sun is at the northernmost height of its power at a time of plenty and celebration starting the astronomical Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and Winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Solstice is from the Latin solstitium (sun stopping), as the Sun’s path does not change for a brief period of time. At Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone on the north-east horizon and its first rays shine into the heart of the circle. As the lifting of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions on 21 June was postponed, there were no Summer Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge and a second year’s live-streaming on English Heritage free social media channels had to be interrupted after people disregarded advice not to travel to the site. Swedes celebrate with the first strawberries of the season and June’s full Moon on the 24 June Midsummer’s Day is known as the Strawberry Moon. Although 21 June is Father’s Day to honour fatherhood and paternal bonds, since 1910 in the USA it has been celebrated on the third Sunday of June, with different countries maintaining their own traditions and Roman Catholic countries celebrating on the 19 March St Joseph’s Day, as they have since the Middle Ages. 21 June is also World Humanist Day, a time for Humanists to gather socially to promote the positive values of Humanism with some intricate social rituals, music and events. Image: readthespirit.com.
Xia Zhi. The most important Chinese solar term, the fourth of summer, marking the Sun reaching the celestial longitude of 90 degrees, each of twenty-four solar terms representing 15 degrees on the ecliptic longitude in an annual cycle. There is heavy rainfall with thunderstorms, lotus flowers blossom, mangoes grow, wheat ripens and thus noodles are eaten during the three pentads (periods of five days) in Xiazhi with: deer shedding antlers; cicada singing; and the Chinese herbal medicine ban xia (crow-dipper) thriving. In areas around Pingyin County, Shandong people commemorate their ancestors at the Summer Solstice. The Summer and Winter solstices were chosen by the ancient emperors as occasions for great festivals, at the Summer Solstice to worship Earth and at the Winter Solstice to worship Heaven. There is a saying that eating wontons on the Summer Solstice and gnocchi on the Winter Solstice invites reunifications and happiness throughout the four seasons. Image: fengshui.net.