Here's why you should go out dancing this weekend to celebrate the full moon
As of Monday, June 17th, everything will be coming up strawberries. The Strawberry Full Moon will peak at 4:31 a.m. EST on June 17th, mere days before the Summer Solstice. Before we enter the hottest season of the year, we’ll get to indulge in a bit of spring sweetness and bask in the glory of the Full Strawberry Moon.
According to Almanac.com, the Full Strawberry Moon was named by the Algonquin tribes of the North East who called it such because it is during this time of year that strawberries are finally ripe and ready for picking. In areas where strawberries do not grow, locals and natives oftentimes call June’s full moon the Rose Moon, because roses have begun to bloom, or the Honey Moon, recognizing the start of the season when bees are actively making honey.
Those who partake in Paganism may call June’s moon the Aerra Litha (Before Litha) Moon or the Strong Sun Moon. This is because on June 21st, we recognize the Summer Solstice, also called Midsummer or Litha. It’s on this day that the Northern Hemisphere receives the most sunlight of the year.
It is believed that on the Solstice, the Sun is at its peak of life-giving power. The Earth has finally come alive once more and fertility should be celebrated.
Each year, several countries in Europe hold huge Midsummer celebrations. For example, in the Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, Midsummer’s Eve rivals Christmas as one of the biggest holidays of the year.
Midsummer is traditionally celebrated three days after the Solstice on June 24th, the feast day of St. John the Baptist. It was shifted from the pagan Solstice date when Christianity took over the region, and the 24th has remained the date of celebration. However, towns and cities may partake in week-long festivals that last from June 19th to June 24th (give or take a few days).
The Solstice and Midsummer are celebrated with massive bonfires, maypoles (sometimes called “Midsummer poles”) decorated with greenery, dancing, costumes, feasting, and drinking. Sounds like a good time to us.
And in England, thousands flock to Stonehenge to celebrate the Solstice each year. Built around 3,000 B.C. to 1,600 B.C., the miraculous ancient structure was built in perfect alignment with the rising Solstice sun (and the setting Winter Solstice sun, too). With deep pagan roots, Stonehenge is a mecca for those wanting to be immersed in ancient Midsummer tradition.
Other cultures around the world also partake in Summer Solstice activities. According to D.J. Conway, author of Moon Magick, on and around June 25th, women in India and Nepal celebrate Teej, a series of festivals where women and girls pay homage to the Goddess Parvati, who fasted for 108 days to show her devotion to Shiva before their marriage.
During these festivals, women worship the moon, dress in vibrant colors, sing, dance, and perform rituals to aid their romantic endeavors and marriages.
And in ancient Egypt, a celebration honoring the goddess Isis took place on June 24th, with the Burning of the Lamps. Egyptians would gather in the temple of Isis and march in procession around the coffin of the god Osiris. Conway writes that Isis would supposedly harness the power of the moon and revive Osiris to bring him into the heavens.
The Full Strawberry Moon is much more than just a pretty sight in the night sky. It beckons in a wonderful time of year and we should celebrate the way our ancient ancestors intended. If anyone wants to go out dancing, hit us up.