June 21st marks the 2019 Summer Solstice. Midsummer’s Day falls shortly after on June 24th. This time of the year is all about honouring the sun and the long hours of brightness we all love so much.
In North America, the tradition of The Sun Dance has been going on for generations amongst the Native American people. It is said that the Native Americans organised the felling of a tree which would be painted and placed at the site of the dancing ceremony.
The sun dance was executed by young warriors and it was said it brought the dancers visions. Offerings were also made on these occasions in order to honour the Great Spirit (which they believed the sun was a manifestation of). Sun Dances involved fasting, body painting, sweat lodges and lasted for days.
For a period of time Sun Dances were outlawed in Canada & the US in an attempt to Westernise the Native tribes. Fortunately these laws were lifted in 1950’s & 1970’s respectively. Nowadays, many Native American cultures hold their Sun Dances open to the public as a means of educating non-Natives about their traditions. To learn more about the origins of the Native American Sun Dance click here.