Litha Customs and Practices

How Litha was celebrated

 Litha Customs and Practices

Those who celebrated Litha did so wearing garlands or crowns of flowers, and of course, their hats or head coverings always included the yellow blossoms of St. John’s Wort. The Litha rites of the ancients were boisterous communal festivities with morris dancing, singing, storytelling, pageantry, and feasting taking place by the village bonfire and torch-lit processions through the villages after dark. People believed that the Litha fires possessed great power and that prosperity and protection for oneself and one’s clan could be earned merely by jumping over the Litha bonfire. It was also common for courting couples to join hands and jump over the embers of the Litha fire three times to ensure a long and happy marriage, financial prosperity and many children. Even the charred embers from the Litha bonfire possessed protective powers – they were charms against injury and bad weather in harvest time, and embers were commonly placed around fields of grain and orchards to protect the crops and ensure abundant reaping. Other Litha customs included carrying an ember of the Litha fire home and placing it on one’s hearth and decking one’s home with birch, fennel, St. John’s Wort, orpin, and white lilies for blessing and protection.

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