Swedes and many northern peoples celebrate June 24 as Midsummer. If the summer solstice is June 21, why is Midsummer close on its heels at June 24? According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, it is because it is the middle of the growing season.
At some point, Christian church authorities assigned June 24 as the birthday of St. John the Baptist, who foretold the birth of Christ (which would occur 6 months later in the calendar, during the darkest days). In this way, the period took on both secular and religious symbolism, giving everyone reasons to celebrate.
It’s also the setting for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of Shakespeare’s most famous and widely performed plays, and a horror movie released in 2019.
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