In the Pagan Celtic year, there are four major Sabbats or harvest festivals and four lesser Sabbats, also known as solar festivals. Litha is one of the lesser Sabbats and is also known as Summer Solstice, Midsummer, Gathering Day and Vestalia.
Typically celebrated on June 21st, Litha is the longest day of the year and a time when the sun reaches its apex in the sky. It is considered the mid-point of summer, which begins with Beltane on May 1st and ends with Lughnasadh on August 1st. In many Pagan traditions Litha is seen as the time when the Oak King, who represents the waxing year, is triumphed over by the Holly King who represents the waning year. The two are actually one God, the Horned God, but the Holly King is seen as the growing youth while the Oak King is seen as the wise and mature man.
The Goddess is also celebrated at Litha by many Pagan traditions. She is seen as the woman heavy with child, who will give birth to the God at Yule. She is also seen as the bounty of coming harvests, of protection and sustenance. The ancient Romans saw this time as sacred to the goddess Juno who was the wife of Jupiter, the goddess of women and children and also the patroness of marriage. Seeing that the month of June is named after her it’s no wonder that marriages are so popular during this month.