Plattdüscher Vereen of Cole Camp
Summer Solstice Selebration
The Plattdüscher Vereen (Low German Club) celebrated the Summer Solstice June 20, 2003 by erecting a tall limbless pine tree with decorated rings of flowers and ribbons.
The dark or waning half of the year begins at the Summer Solstice with the longest day of the year, usually June 21. The longest day in Cole Camp was fourteen hours and fifty-one minutes. A literal meaning of solstice is the day the sun stands still. The Germans use the word Sommerranfang which means summer begins. The Slavs, Celts and Germanic tribes celebrated the Summer Solstice with huge bon fires. The Druids worshiped at Stonehenge during the solstice. The solstice was celebrated for centuries by the Pagans. Christians gradually accepted June 21 as part of the church year. June 24 was designated St. John the Baptist Day, possibly to legitimize the observation of the solstice. Celebrations of various forms can be found to this day in parts of Europe and even in the United States.
Several years ago, Neil and Marilyn Heimsoth were in Cole Camp's Friendship City, Elsdorf, Germany, when they were celebrating the Summer Solstice. Members of the Heimat-und Trachtenverein der Boerde Elsdorf gathered at their meeting hall, having brought with them flowers and ends of shrubbery. Three graduated metal rings were bound with the greenry and flowers. These decorated rings were suspended from a thirty-foot spruce pole which was then erected in the lawn in front of the bank where it was left for thirty days.
At their meeting in the Jaycee Gardens Friday evening, June 20, members of the Plattdüscher Vereen of Cole Camp decorated the three metal rings with flowers and shrubbery gathered from their yards and fields. The rings were then fastened to a thirty-foot pine tree devoid of limbs. The decorated pole was then erected in front of the Handel House.
The following are pictures of this celebration in Cole Camp in 2003. Select any picture to display a full size version of that picture.
Copyright © 2003, Art Heimsoth - all rights reserved