domingo, 26 de junio de 2016
jueves, 23 de junio de 2016
The Feast of St John coincides with the June solstice also referred to as Midsummer. The Christian holy day is fixed at 24 June but in some countries, festivities are celebrated the night before on St John's Eve.
European midsummer-related holidays, traditions, and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin.
When is Midsummer's Day?
Midsummer's Day, the middle of summer, falls on on 24 June, after the longest day (Summer Solstice). Before the change of calendars, Midsummer's day fell on 5 July.
Why are Midsummer's Day and the Summer Solstice not on the same day?
The longest day in the northern hemisphere is today 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.
What used to happen on Midsummer's Eve?
Midsummer's Eve is a time associated with witches, magic, fairies and dancing.On the eve of Midsummer's Day, many bonfires were 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.
Midsummer's Eve today
Midsummer's Eve today
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
He that will love me
Come after me now.
Then the next day, Midsummer's Day, their true love will visit them.
Midsummer tradition is also especially strong in northern areas of the country, such as Galicia, where one can easily identify the rituals that reveal the pagan beliefs widespread throughout Europe in Neolithic times. These beliefs pivot on three basic ideas: the importance of medicinal plants, especially in relation to health, youth and beauty; the protective character of fire to ward men off evil spirits and witches and, finally, the purifying, miraculous effects of water.
lunes, 20 de junio de 2016
This June, 2016, the solstice and full Moon coincide—a rare event, indeed.
WHEN IS THE SUMMER SOLSTICE?
In 2016, the solstice falls on June 20 at 6:34 p.m. EDT. This is the “summer” solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.
The timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its northernmost point of the equator.
WHAT IS THE SUMMER SOLSTICE?
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice).
In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer.
This summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year. See our handy sunrise and sunset calculator for how many hours of sunlight you get in your location.
At the winter solstice, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.
jueves, 16 de junio de 2016
June the 16th is Bloomsday when Ireland celebrates the life of James Joyce. Bloomsday is a commemoration observed annually in Dublin and elsewhere in the world to celebrate the life of Irish writer James Joyce and recall the events in his novel Ulysses, all of which took place on the same day in Dublin in 1904. Joyce chose the date because his first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle happened on that day. The name derives from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses.
James Joyce lived for a time in Martello Tower situated beside the Forty Foot bathing place at Sandycove, a small village 7 miles south of Dublin. The opening scene of Joyce's Ulysses is set in this tower, which now hosts a small Joycean museum. Its people celebrate it with readings, music, songs, walking tours, and of course eating and drinking.
miércoles, 15 de junio de 2016
martes, 14 de junio de 2016
The centrepiece of Ascot’s year, Royal Ascot is one of Europe's most famous race meetings, and dates back to 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne. Every year Royal Ascot is attended by HM Elizabeth II and various members of the British Royal Family such as The Prince of Wales, arriving each day in a horse-drawn carriage with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day and the raising of the Queens royal Standard. It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often exceeds coverage of the actual racing. There are 3 enclosures attended by guests on Royal Ascot week.
The Dress is strictly enforced, for Ladies only a day dress with a hat or fascinator is acceptable with rules applying to the length of the dress and ladies must not show bare midriffs or shoulders. For gentlemen a black or grey morning dress with top hat.
Over 300,000 people make the annual visit to Berkshire during Royal Ascot week, making this Europe’s best-attended race meeting. This leads to a split among racing fans, some of whom are glad to see racing in the spotlight, and getting more attention, while others do not like the meeting despite the quality of racing.
There are 16 Group races on offer, with at least one Group One event on each of the five days. The Ascot Gold Cup is on Ladies' Day on the Thursday. There is over £3,000,000 of prize money on offer.
On 14 June 1777, the Continental Congress approved the design of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the U.S. The first Flag Act was passed on this day stating that "the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
Between 1777 and 1960, US Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed for additional stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state.
Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union.
What do the colours red, white and blue represent?
The colours of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valour, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.
What do the fifty stars represent today?
Today the number of stars on the US flag has grown to 50 from the original 13. Since 1818, the stars have represented every state in the Union.