It may not be summer in terms of sweaty nights and scorching days, but the growing things here at Seven Trees are out of the gate and ready to run. Our ancestors didn’t bother with fussy temperamental spring. It was winter or summer, so now, we declare it summer!
This April 21st, Seven Trees will be wishing everyone a Happy Harpa!
In the Old Norse calendar, still used in Iceland to calculate holidays and annual feasts, the first Thursday following April 18th marks the first day of summer. Our viking ancestors divided the year into two seasons, Náttleysi (“Nightless days”) and Skammdegi (“Short days”). Harpa (possibly a Scandinavian goddess) is the name of the first month of summer, roughly coinciding with mid-April to mid-May.
The holiday celebrated on this day has multiple names – Sumarsdag, Sumardagurinn fyrsti, and Sigrblot. Many summer-kickoff observances were all about fertility, invoking bountiful crops and productive livestock in the up-coming warm season. But Sigrblot (“victory sacrifice”) was intended to bring success and luck to warriors, since summer also heralded the onset of fighting/raiding season.
The Icelandic Club of Greater Seattle details some of the less-warlike traditions of Sumarsdag:
People also used to give summer gifts on…
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