The UBC Rose Garden is a notoriously popular spot for weddings. Between the view of the mountains and... well, all the roses, it looks like a picture from a wedding magazine. During the summer, it’s not uncommon to pass by and see the aftermath of one in the form of shredded tissue paper and bruised flowers petals.
Of course, it seems like everybody and their dog is getting married this time of year — 67 per cent of weddings in Canada occur between June and September. Summer officially begins with the summer solstice on June 21, the longest day and shortest night of the year. In more than a few cultures, this day has a load of significance for love and sex, and it feels like reminders of it are everywhere.
If you stuck your head out of the window and looked up at night on June 20, you may have seen an origin of the term “honeymoon” when you saw a full, goldey-colored moon peeping back at you.
Walk down a residential street and take a moment to appreciate the flowerbeds. If you’re single and pick seven different flowers from seven different gardens to put under your pillow on a midsummer’s night, according to Swedish tradition, you’ll dream about your true love.
Head to a beach and check out a bonfire. According to the traditions of a load of cultures, fire is crucial. Whether you jump over it and wish, jump over it with your sweetheart to show your loyalty by not letting go of their hand or light it to ward off spirits, that depends on whether you’re French, Greek, Brazilian, British or one of a few dozen other cultures.
These traditions don’t come out of nowhere. While it used to be a popular theory that people bathed once a year in May and still smelled okay in June, but carried flowers to cover up the BO, that’s just a myth. The real reason for the summer wedding obsession has a much less smelly rationale. The solstice is when the first harvest typically took place and fertility rituals go hand-in-hand with harvests. Babies were more likely to survive being born in spring than in winter and spring babies are conceived in summer.
You may find yourself saying, “Yo, Katya, sex and marriage are two wildly different things.” Well, sure. But on an extremely crude level, marriage has basically been about identifying who you’re going to be having sex with. Yeah, we can get excited about cake. But at the end of the day, we’re probably more interested in who we’re licking the frosting off.
So this solstice, feel free to capitalize on the energy that’s been building ever since the days started getting longer and burning away the winter blues. Maybe you want to stay up all night to watch the sunrise. Maybe you want to leave pastries in trees for fairies. Maybe you want to make like most of Europe and find something to do with a bonfire. However you greeted the sunrise June 21, thousands of people at the Pyramids, the Cahokian Mound 72 in Illinois and Stonehenge will have helped you greet it.