Origin and usage
The noun midsummer is formed from the prefix mid- and the noun ‘summer’. It has been used in English since the earliest days of the language.
Today is Midsummer Day or Midsummer‘s Day, the official date of the middle of summer in the northern hemisphere. This is not the same date as the summer solstice, which marks the longest day of the year and falls on 20th or 21st June, although confusingly the solstice is also sometimes referred to as midsummer. Even more confusingly, meteorological summer starts on 1 June in order to divide the year into four neat three-month periods. Although the gloomy like to remind us that the days start to shorten from now on, marking the descent into the darkness of autumn and winter, for now the days remain long. Midsummer has traditionally been a time of celebration, although this year the druids were unable to celebrate the solstice at Stonehenge as is their practice. Shakespeare’s eternally popular comedy ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is suffused with the magic and enchantment traditionally associated with this time of year.
“Stonehenge is famously aligned with midsummer sunrise, and possibly also intentionally with midwinter sunset.”
(Alice Roberts, scientist)
“As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning.”
(title of a memoir by Laurie Lee)
British Summer Time, high summer, solstice