On June 21st there will be two different kinds of celebrations.
Father’s Day is celebrated worldwide to recognize the contribution that fathers and father figures make to the lives of their children. This day celebrates fatherhood and male parenting. Although it is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide, many countries observe this day on the third Sunday in June.
Father figures can include fathers, stepfathers, fathers-in-law, grandfathers and great-grandfathers and even other male relatives.
The first time Father’s Day was held in June was in 1910. President Nixon officially recognized Father’s Day as a holiday in 1972.
The father’s role has evolved in the last decades, turning away from the image related only to power and bread winner to one of a caring, everyday present figure in the child’s life.
Nowadays, father share most of the child care including changing diapers, feeding, bathing and clothing a child. Fathers have earned through their own effort a place in the home and in their children’s lives and hearts. Because of this change, males now have developed more abilities that before were only associated to females. More and more we see cases where a father has been the sole caregiver of their children and they have done a remarkable job.
The other celebration that takes place this Sunday, June 21st is the Solstice.
The June solstice is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice the Southern Hemisphere.
The day of the solstice is either the longest day of the year (in summer) or the shortest day of the year (in winter) for any place outside of the tropics.
In ancient China, the summer solstice was observed by a ceremony to celebrate the Earth, femininity, and the “yin” forces. It complemented the winter solstice that celebrated the heavens, masculinity and “yang” forces. According to Chinese tradition, the shortest shadow is found on the day of summer solstice.
In North America, many Native American tribes held ritual dances to honor the sun. The Sioux were known to hold one of the most spectacular rituals, usually performed during the June solstice. Preparations for the dance included cutting and raising a tree that would be considered a visible connection between the heavens and Earth, and setting up teepees in a circle to represent the cosmos. Participants abstained from food and drink during the dance itself. Their bodies were decorated in the symbolic colors of red (sunset), blue (sky), yellow (lightning), white (light), and black (night).
In northern European countries like Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, Midsummer is a festive celebration. When the summer days are at their longest – and in the north it is the time of the midnight sun – festivals generally celebrate the summer and the fertility of the Earth. In Sweden and many parts of Finland people dance around maypoles. Bonfires are lit and homes are decorated with flower garlands, greenery, and tree branches.
In Mexico’s Chichen Itza’s most iconic feature is the Temple of Kukulcan, a four sided, step pyramid built with amazing mathematical precision. Ninety-one stairs on each side of the pyramid climb seven tiers to reach a single platform at the summit. When added together, this totals 365, or one stair for each day of the year. On these days, visitors can witness Kukulcan’s Descent, where a cast shadow simulates Kukulcan, the great feathered serpent slithering toward the pyramid’s base.
Humanity has an incredible heritage of knowledge left by ancient peoples from all over the world who worked so hard to leave behind what they knew for future generations.
Both celebrations could be close to our hearts, as we ascend and learn new roles and ways to understand life.
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