Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Midsummer? Midwinter?

Someone please explain to me why we use these terms for the first day of summer and the first day of winter? Seems to me that Midsummer should be somewhere around August 4 - midway point in summer, between spring and autumn.

5 comments:

Spanish Inquisitor said...

There's a certain wordsmith we know who probably has the answer. Probably on one of his shelves.

John Evo said...

Funny you should say so, because he CALLED me to give me the answer! You know he doesn't WRITE anything anymore.

Apparently, the tradition of things like Midsummer's Night go back well before present calendars, so people probably thought it was the middle of summer, in terms of their crop cycles, etc. Once we had the modern fixed calendars, they just went ahead and attached those particular holiday names to the Summer and Winter solstice dates.

the chaplain said...

Good question, Evo. It's hilarious how you got the answer. Not surprising, but still hilarious.

the chaplain said...

Don't want to go too far OT, but how is the Neal Stephenson book you've got in your sidebar?

John Evo said...

Haha! (OT... does THAT really matter on this blog anymore?)

It was a good book. I'm pretty damned far past it - just haven't updated my reading in a while. Stephenson has a new book, either out or about to be released, and it sounds pretty good.