Category Archives: Midsummer

Solstice of Midsummer

Busy week! Bloomsday last Tuesday, Juneteenth yesterday, and now here comes the Midsummer solstice this evening of the 20th. It is the moment when the sun reaches its zenith at the Tropic of Capricorn, and this time around, it occurs at 5:44 PM Eastern Daylight Time. More or less––the precise moment will depend upon where you’re at within your time zone. But you get the general idea. It brings the arrival of summer by the almanac, though in traditional circles we think of this as midsummer, for once this moment passes, already the days are beginning to decrease in daylight, and in the constant rearrange––each day being slightly different than the one before and the one to follow––we are on the way now toward winter.

The calendar will continue to be busy. In Sweden and other Arctic countries, it is the annual Midsommar celebration. Here in the States, it is Father’s Day on Sunday. And the celebration of Midsummer in other places is set around St. John’s Eve on June 23 and St. John’s Day on June 24, celebrations you might think of as opposite sides of the coin from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In fact, the early Church assigned the birth of Christ to the days that follow the Midwinter solstice, and the birth of St. John the Baptist to the days that follow the Midsummer solstice. This was done by design: Christ is depicted as the Light of the World, coming in the darkness of Midwinter. Legendary magic attends both: at midnight on Christmas Eve, animals are said to speak or kneel and pray, and St. John’s Eve is the setting for William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Some will say it’s set at May Day, but I would disagree, and so would Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which is currently closed due to Covid-19 quarantine, yet streaming for free, online, until June 28th, its 2013 production of the A Midsummer Night’s Dream… the photo above is a promotional shot from the play (and please join me in making a donation there, if you can, in exchange for the performance––the Globe operates thanks to the support of those who visit, and right now, no one is visiting).

Glad Midsommar to you, solstice greetings. A very happy Father’s Day to all our fathers––those that were given to us and those that we’ve chosen. My dad, he used to joke about it, calling it Jack Ass Day, a habit he picked up from his own dad, my grandfather, Lazzaro Cutrone. I never got to meet that grandpa––he died long before I was born. I think of that sometimes. I see pictures, and a few home movies, and he looks like a great guy. I think about the children of my nephews: how they all knew my dad, their great grandfather, and that makes me happy. And then I get to wondering about the great celestial workings: our planet spinning on its axis, orbiting the sun, the sun spinning as well, the Milky Way spinning, too, in the even greater mechanics of the expanding universe. Sometimes it makes my head hurt, and sometimes I have a fleeting grasp that it’s all connected: you and me, the people we love, the planets and stars to the edge of the universe, and even the parallel ones, as well.

If I can, I’ll write again come St. John’s Eve. Happy Midsummer.


Midsommar, or Your June Book of Days

Here is the sixth month of the year, June. Late in the month comes the midsummer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere: the longest day of our year, the day with the most sunlight. This is an important time in places like Sweden, where, near the Arctic Circle, the sun will be above the horizon for most of the day––the other side of the coin from midwinter in December. Seth’s cousin married a Swede; when she got to the States, this may be what she missed most from her homeland: the celebration of Midsommar around St. John’s Day, the 24th of June. All these years later, perhaps Ulrika still misses this each June.

Be that as it may, here is your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for June. We rarely use Convivio Bookworks products as cover stars in our calendars, but this month we did. Our photo this month is of the little tableau we’ve created in the corner cupboard in our kitchen. It features a pine tree candle and the new midsummer ornament we sell in our Convivio by Mail catalog. It’s handmade in Sweden of painted wood and ribbon.

I hope you’re doing well enough as we come to welcome summer. The times are challenging, this is for sure. Lake Worth has become a hot spot for new Covid-19 cases in the past week or two, but Seth and I: we go nowhere, really. The governor says it’s fine to be out and about, but we’re not paying attention to politicians in general these days. These same politicians are also not helping things much in that our country is suffering not just from a new virus but from a much older disease, one that goes back to its history of being built on a foundation of slavery. A century and a half later, we still can’t shake the inequality that is its legacy; it only grows worse. As much as I like to close each Convivio Book of Days post with something positive and uplifting, for the time being, I don’t think I can. The people in charge are divisive, concerned only with casting blame, which gets us nowhere. Violence, I feel, is never a good idea, and yet I see that the people who want to affect change find themselves cast as thugs, or undermining American ideals, even if they take a peaceful approach. What are American ideals? Equality, I think. And being able to live our lives without fear. These are the basics, and yet an entire segment of Americans do not have these luxuries.


Join me if you can each Wednesday at 3 PM Eastern time for a live, unscripted broadcast on our Facebook page of Book Arts 101: Home Edition––a weekly ramble through the book arts, craft, design, and whatever else drifts through my head. You can watch later (again, at our Convivio Bookworks Facebook page) should you not be able to watch at 3.


It’s a Sale!

It’s pretty rare Convivio Bookworks runs a sale, but we won’t be popping up this spring at pop-up markets, and here we are with all these wonderful Ukrainian pysanky eggs that just arrived, and all those beautiful handmade sturdy paper egg containers from Germany (great places to stash your jelly beans and malted eggs). We also have cards you’re not likely to find elsewhere for Ramadan, and there’s a brand new Swedish maypole decoration for Midsummer, and these fine handmade artisan goods are not going to do anyone any good sitting in our little house ’til next year. So we’re giving you 15% everything in our Spring & Summer collection, 15% off all of our Ramadan cards from Manal Aman of Hello Holy Days! fame, and while we’re at it, since soap is so important right now, 15% off all of our handmade soaps from local soap maker Kelly Sullivan and from Brother Andrew at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community in Maine (as well as their delightful new culinary lavender that’s in a brown paper bag tied up with string).

Click here to get to the Convivio Book of Days Catalog; use code SPRING15 when you check out. Plus we’ll give you FREE SHIPPING on domestic orders when you spend $50. (And our flat rate shipping is only $8.50 if you don’t spend $50.) We ship Priority Mail so you’ll have your order in time for Easter. If you’re in Lake Worth Beach, let us know and we’ll deliver your order to your front porch for free no matter how much you spend (we’ll deduct the shipping charge if you spend less than $50).

Your orders support what may just be the smallest company on the planet, as well as all the artisans we buy from… most of them are folks we know by name. That support is greatly appreciated at times like this, so thank you.