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Fairies and the summer solstice

Sakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" takes place on the summer solstice.
Sakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" takes place on the summer solstice.
Sir Joseph Neol Paton, public domain

June 21 is the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, and is known as the most active day of the year for fairies. According to traditional European fairy lore, the veil between the mundane human world and Faerie thins on the summer solstice, allowing the worlds to mingle.

The summer solstice is also known as Midsummer, and the classic Shakespeare play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” takes place at Midsummer. In the play a hobgoblin called Puck plays tricks on humans and the fairy queen at the behest of his master Oberon, the king of the fairies. The fairies and humans in the story are able to interact because it is the summer solstice.

On this enchanted fairy holiday, it is traditional in some cultures to leave gifts or offerings of food out for the fairies. The treats are given out of friendship, out of thanks for help received from the fairies, and as a way to placate the magical beings. Fairies are known for being unpredictable, and even vengeful, if displeased with humans. However, they can also be beneficent and generous with humans who please them, so a few nice gifts and treats to please them is a good idea.

Some lovely flowering plants, dried or fresh fruit, raw nuts, or honey make excellent gifts for the fairies. In some Scandinavian countries it’s traditional to place special cakes in trees for the fairies. It’s also a good idea to clean up the house and garden - the fairies like neatness.

Midsummer runs from June 21 through June 24 or 25, so there’s still plenty of time to arrange something nice for the fairies to enjoy, or to plan a Midsummer garden party. It’s lovely to invite friends to gather to sing songs, dance, recite fairy poems, tell fairy stories, and have a bonfire in the evening to celebrate the fairies.

So, take the time to remember the fairies during the summer solstice, and be on the lookout for signs that the fairies are about!

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