Today is the feast of the nativity of St. John the Baptist, “St. John’s Day” the historical observance of Midsummer, or the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
Like other seasonal observances, the summer solstice was celebrated by pre-Christian people. The early missionaries, in their wisdom, knew the almost biological importance of these observances and attached holy days to them–St. Johns’s day at the summer solstice, Christmas at the winter solstice, and less precisely, Easter at the vernal equinox, and All Saints Day at the fall equinox.
The old English quarter days, when rents were due and debts were settled, are more equally divided:
Lady Day (the feast of the Annunciation), March 25; St. John’s Day, June 24; Michaelmas (the feast of St. Michael the Archangel), September 29; Christmas, December 25
There was even a pagan observance at the midpoint between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox that was translated into a religious feast. The pagan festival, Groundhog Day, is probably more well known than the feast of the Presentation, or Candlemas.
But I digress. In the spring, I shared pictures of my garden. Here are more pictures to show you where my crops are on this beautiful midsummer day:
And not nearly enough tomatoes.
I also have limes and lemons on their way, and a few flowers: