It’s the summer solstice today (21st June at 4.39pm GMT/UTC in Dublin, to be precise!!) – the longest day of the year for the northern hemisphere.
The solstice marks the official first day of summer, and has been celebrated for its symbolic importance since ancient times.
Back then, the Summer Solstice was a fire-festival of great importance with the burning of bales of straw that were rolled down hills. This ritual was believed to help strengthen the power of the sun. I think it’s fair to say if that worked, in Ireland we’d be burning bales of straw the whole year round or until the cows came home : )
Fire was a very important part of the summer solstice celebrations. As well as providing magical strengthening powers to the sun, there was a belief that it could drive out evil, increase fertility and bring prosperity. Some say that the Celts would light balefires all over their lands from sunset the night before Midsummer until sunset the next day. And it was around these flames the festivities would take place.
So what’s all this got to do with Celtic jewellery? Well, as a designer, I am intrigued by the interplay of light and like to incorporate it into my Celtic designs. It’s not a big surprise that I draw inspiration from sites like Newgrange (in Ireland) and Stonehenge (in the UK) that were cleverly designed millennia ago to make spectacular use of light at significant times of the year (like the summer solstice).
This has resulted in many of my designs allowing light to shine through translucent materials… to create something a little bit different. And hopefully a little special too!