It occurred to me this weekend that another solstice had come and gone without my taking appropriate notice. I'm not sure whether to put that down to laziness, lack of imagination, or the continuing alienation from the natural world caused by the stresses of a post-industrial society, but I'm going to go with that last one, just because it puts most of the blame on someone other than me.
Midsummer, apparently, is still a big deal in parts of Europe, though certainly not so big a deal as it must have been in pagan times. I understand that the Scandinavians are particularly fond of it, which only makes sense. After all, here in the DC area, the longest day only lasts fourteen hours, fifty-three minutes, and forty-nine seconds. Conversely, about six months from now, the longest night will be just as long, and while that's significantly longer than the daylight will last in late December, it's not as big a difference as you'd see in Northern Europe. In Stockholm, for example, the longest day lasts about 18:38:27, which would mean that around the time of the winter solstice, daylight lasts for less than six hours. No wonder they worship the sun.
But we should not let our relative lack of extended darkness lull us into complacency. Especially if that complacency keeps us from celebrating a perfectly good holiday. Because, as humans but especially as gay men, what are we if we're not people who will use any excuse to throw a party?
Any celebration of the solstice should obviously involve revelry that lasts from sundown to sunup: you watch the sun go away and then you have a really good time so that the sun will be jealous and will want to come back and join the fun. I realize that it's probably more traditional to try to tempt the sun back with a sacrifice, but sun gods are traditionally male figures, and if I've learned anything, it's that you don't attract men by offering them gifts. That reeks of insecurity, and nothing is less attractive than insecurity. No, if you want a man back, you make him jealous and think that you don't need him. Besides, let's face it: revelry is way more fun than sacrifice.
Ideally, you'll have your celebration in an isolated location. Maybe in a big field or, better still, on a remote beach. You'll get everyone together shortly before sundown, you'll drink a toast to the departing sun, you'll light a big bonfire (more traditional at Beltane, but so what?), and you'll spend the next however many hours drinking and cavorting, spreading as much joy as you can to make sure it's a party that the sun would hate to have missed. Then when the sun comes back up, you extricate yourself from a big sweaty pile of sticky naked men (you know, just as an example) and toast the sun's return. You're then required to engage in additional post-sunrise cavorting, just so the sun doesn't feel left out, but don't worry: you can retire to sleep it off before the sun gets high enough to require sunblock.
There are alternatives, of course. If you want to approach the holiday from a more spiritual point of view, I recommend sitting unclothed on the beach, facing east as the sun sets and meditating. Another equally pious individual can then come and sit on your cock (after fluffing, if necessary) and wrapping his legs around your waist so that he faces west as the last of the sun's rays disappear beneath the horizon. With your arms wrapped around each other, you must then fuck (reverently, of course) for as long as the darkness lasts. True devotees will achieve simultaneous ejaculation at the moment of sunrise. No one said religion was easy.
Skeptics will say that this sort of heliocentric worship would make more sense at the winter equinox, when people really are most worried about the sun coming back. I understand this objection, but do you really want to be naked on the beach for fifteen hours in the dead of winter? Of course not. If you celebrate in winter, you're going to have to wear layers and layers of clothing. We already have enough holidays that involve dressing up. Dressing up reeks of pretension and consumerism. What we need is a holiday that emphasizes simplicity and red hot mansex.
FYI, next year, the shortest night will be the night that starts on the twentieth of June and ends on the twenty-first. That's a Saturday night. Start planning now.