Tuesday, June 24

Midsummer Day

Activities on this day in tradition-minded English communities include the lavish decorating of the village well. This area then becomes the focal point for music recitals and "morris-dancing" throughout the rest of the day. The festivities were originally intended to celebrate the ultimate victory of the faithful martyr, John the Baptist--as the old Midsummer carol asserted:

When bloody Herod reigned king,
Within Judea's land,
Much woes his cruel will did bring,
By bloody fierce command.
Amongst the rest with grief oppressed,
Was good Saint John there slain,
Who on this day, 'midst sport and play,
A martyred death did gain.

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