For the last 40 years, the Fête de la Musique is an annual music celebration that takes place on 21 June. The 'citoyens', the citizens and residents are urged to play music outside in their neighbourhoods or in public spaces and parks. Free concerts are also organised, where musicians play for fun and not for payment.
The first all-day musical celebration on the day of the summer solstice was originated by Jack Lang, then Minister of Culture of France, as well as by Maurice Fleuret, who was a French composer and music journalist. The first Fête de la Musique was celebrated in Paris in 1982 and is now celebrated in 120 countries around the world and called World Music Day.
All around the Dordogne, there are music festivals on 21 June. Click on the link and you’ll find all the concerts around our gîte Loups d’Or.
Midsummer is the period of time in 'the middle' of the summer. The exact dates vary among different cultures, but is primarily held close to the summer solstice.
Midsummer in France is called 'la Saint-Jean' and is the feast of John the Baptist which is actually celebrated on 24 June, traditionally accompanied by large bonfires.
But why is it called 'Midsummer', if summer starts on 21 June?
Meteorologists believe in keeping the exact same three-month pattern each year. According to the meteorologists, the summer season starts on 1 June and will come to an end on 31 August, the exact same three-month pattern
Meanwhile, the astronomical summer starts on 21 June, which is known as the summer solstice, and will come to an end on 23 September. This is based on the position of the Earth in relation to the sun, and is therefore subject to change.
So it is the astronomically midsummer, the day with the longest period of daylight. Historically this day was also the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvest.
......and this is why the start of summer is actually called 'midsummer'.
The feast day of Saint John the Baptist, was created by the Christian Church in the 4th century CE, in honour of the birth of the Saint John the Baptist, exactly six months before the feast of Christmas, marking the birth of Christ.
However, mid-summer celebrations can be traced back to the Iron Age, between 1200 - 600 BCE, with carvings of sun-worship, expressing joy and thanks to the sun for its life-giving power.
In ancient Gaul, which encompasses modern-day France and some parts of its neighbouring countries, the Midsummer celebration was dedicated to the Goddess of fertility, Epona ….. who is also the Goddess of the horses and the namegiver of the pony. For all of you who know May Day in Padstow, the Obby Osses are a symbolic representation of Epona and the May Day Osses represent Midsummer solstice fertility and the Midwinter Solstice Oss, death and rebirth.
So, if you are a music lover, if you need a break anyway or if you don't want to go to Stonehenge again, our gîte is still available around this date.
Have a look at our availability calendar and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Looking forward to welcoming you here in Lusignac in the Dordogne!
Pimm + Marcel
Most of our blogs are written to give you more information about the Dordogne, Périgord, where we have Gîte Loups d'Or, our 4-star, luxury, self-catering holiday home. We write about subjects we think are interesting for you to know and to give you inspiration to explore this beautiful part of France yourself. If you have any questions or if you want more information, please feel free to contact us.