|Stonehenge at Solstice|
In pre-Christian Europe, the solstice was considered the middle of the summer, the time when the sun was at the height of its power before fading back to be reborn at Yule, the Winter Solstice. The stones of the famous Stonehenge ruins in England line up with the solstice, one of many ancient sites that do. Later, the Christian Church allowed celebrations during this time in conjunction with the feast (festival) celebrating the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
Prehistoric Germanic and Nordic people believed that during the Summer Solstice fey or fairies were most active. This idea survived into the Christian era and took root in many traditions and works of art. The most famous of these is Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." (DVD Video 61) Composers have also been influenced by the idea that magic and fairies are afoot at the Solstice.
Come to the Music Collection to check out any of these Summer Solstice inspired recordings. DVDs are available for check-out from the Educational Resources Collections counter.