Midsummer is celebrated on June 24. It’s a day that’s meant for us to appreciate all the gifts that nature gives us. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and that landed on June 20, but because the old Julian calendar marked it differently, the date for Midsummer Day remains June 24. The holiday originates from Sweden, but it’s celebrated all over the world and many use the weekend closest to the date for traditional festivities.

Midsummer started as a pagan ritual for fertility and a successful harvest during the Stone Age. The pagans believed that plants had healing properties during the summer solstice and they honored the day showing reverence to nature with rituals. They danced around maypoles, fashioned garnets, and herbs were picked on Midsummer’s Eve and bonfires were used to keep away any evil spirits. It was said that spirits were free to roam the earth when the sun was turning towards the southern hemisphere.

In the fourth century, the holiday was changed to fit into Christian beliefs that honored St. John the Baptist called St. John’s Day. In the Gospel of Luke, Saint John’s birthday is said to be six months before the birth of Jesus, which would put his birthday in June. It was celebrated by bathing in water the night before for purification, a feast, and prayer on the holiday, but despite the name change, some of the customs from Midsummer remained.

In the Middle Ages, Germany had its own Midsummer rituals which would eventually be adopted by Sweden and others. Germanic neopagans called their summer solstice festival Litha. In their rituals, the Maypole was decorated with leaves and raised on May 1, which is where the name comes from. It was hard to find green leaves during that time, and the holiday was moved to Midsummer.

Today, it’s still a celebrated holiday and it’s incredibly popular. In Sweden, it comes only second to Christmas and people travel from all over the world to experience it themselves. During the time of the Summer Solstice, inhabitants of the British Isles and Scandinavia have nearly a full day of sunlight, making it easy for them to imagine how the Pagans once lived and they reenact the traditions of old.

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A Midsummer Treat!!

National Pralines Day is on June 24 that celebrates a nut-based creamy confection that can be enjoyed in an assortment of ways. Pralines are a smooth and sweet treat made with nuts, sugar, and sometimes cream. They can be used in cookies, candy, and as a paste and they’re often made with pecans or almonds. The name is believed to have been inspired by French sugar industrialist and French diplomat César, duc de Choiseul, comte du Plessis-Praslin who used a powder called pralin made by grinding sugar-coated nuts.

During the seventeenth century, France’s Marshal du Plessis-Praslin was responsible for the fame and name of the praline, but many believe that it was his chef, Clement Lassagne who was the true creator.

In one account, the idea for pralines came from Lassagne’s children who snacked on the leftover almonds and caramel from earlier culinary projects which inspired the idea. In another, the children had caramelized almonds over a candle and Lassagne followed the scent and discovered the magic of the mixture. And in yet another, Lassagne’s apprentice accidentally knocked a container of almonds into a vat of cooking caramel.

Pralines were brought over from France to New Orleans by Ursuline nuns in 1727. They oversaw young women called casket girls who, under the request of Bienville, were meant to marry New Orleans’ colonists. The casket girls were taught the art of praline making along with academics and domestic work for the purpose of becoming good wives to the settlers. Pralines became part of the local tradition in New Orleans, and now they’re an essential part of creole cuisine.

In the nineteenth century, the ingredients switched from almonds to pecans because of their availability in New Orleans, and cream was used to thicken the texture. Women in the French Quarter who sold pralines were called Pralinieres and selling pralines gave free people of color job opportunities when work was limited. Instead of being indentured servants or kept-women, women of lesser means were given more autonomy thanks to this alternate avenue of income. The praline expanded into other parts of the country and they became popular in Texas and Georgia as a favored southern confection, but it all began in The Big Easy.

Pralines haven’t changed much from their original form. The ingredients still consist of pecans, dairy, and sugar, and some have added vanilla and maple for more flavor. People have experimented with pralines in many different ways, but the original is still just as loved as it was back then. The creamy sweetness of this confection still holds its own amongst many other tasty treats.

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Thanks to our guest contributor Mike N 86403, we published a Post on blogspot showing some scenery up in Northern Arizona near Flagstaff.


We hope you will check it out!

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Cap and Patti


  1. Kit Raye

    Have a beautiful Midsummer Day, and i love Michael’s photos of Northern Arizona. I’ve traveled there a bit with each adult child. It is really beautiful and inspiring.
    Well, heating up this week in the Black Hills, and I’m coming out of shingles recovery…finally.
    Stay well! As always, thanks for your wonderful post.

    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      Thank You Kit !! For all of the years you have supported us. We so appreciate you and all of the others who are “behind us”! We ARE enjoying our Midsummer Days Kit !! Nice you are recovering from your bout with the shingles Kit! Cap and Patti

  2. Michael

    Here we are….along for the ride and those vicarious thrills following my more adventurous friends. Kudos and much appreciated thanks to Cap and Patti, and my good friend Mike for sharing your travelogues. To be honest I’m a bit jealous since I’ve let life slow me way-y-y down with being dedicated to the welfare and companionship of Little Bit. My fur-baby doesn’t do road trips well, at all. So meanwhile I’m very content with just making sure she has food, shelter and comfortable climes for the duration. Selfishly I’m convinced that there is no dog-sitter that could safeguard my girl as well as I. I’ve always promised God I would be above and beyond responsible for my animals, pets, companions. She’s more than worth the feet firmly planted at my humble little home.
    I hope you folks are tolerating the spike in temps in and around South Central AK. Word has it that the heat is almost unbearable. Here in the desert it seems like we are in for a long hot summer, too. I shudder to think that summer only officially began on the solstice.
    Stay safe, my friends. We dearly miss you both!
    Michael and Little Bit

    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      Thanks Michael for you long touch base and check in here on dotnet. We appreciate your support. Yes Little Bit is an extremely important part of your life and well being. We feel for her with the heat there knowing that she does not like it. Yes (finally) it has warmed up a little here but nothing compared to what you are getting down there in Lake Havasu City! Yes it’s looking like a long and hot summer for you all. Smiles Michael. Cap and Patti

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