By Elaine Voci, Phd. Certified Life-cycle Celebrant®, Life Coach and Author
Celebrants offer an essential service in today’s changing world. Recent Pew Studies describe an increasing number of people who aren’t affiliated with any particular religion and many who are not religious at all but consider themselves spiritual instead. Interfaith and multicultural families are increasingly important and a growing part of society’s diversity. Life-Cycle Celebrants® offer a meaningful and significant alternative to people from all backgrounds, traditions, cultures, and faiths. They provide the opportunity to create ceremonies that celebrate, honor, and recognize life events that are shared common human experiences, and among the most joyful are celebrations of love.
Many such celebrations take place in June. It’s the most popular month for weddings and you may have wondered how that happened. In the Roman Empire, many couples chose to wed in June because by then the weather had become warm and flowers were bountiful. June was named for Juno, the goddess of marriage and childbirth; couples who chose to get married in June did so to honor her and because they hoped that she would look favorably on them, and grant them prosperity and good fortune.
As time went on, other equally practical reasons for marrying in June arose: the Celtics realized that babies born to couples who married in June were more likely to survive in mild weather, and with less infection and starvation than in cold winter months. During medieval times a person’s annual bath (yes, you read that right) usually fell in late May or early June, meaning that June brides would still smell clean and fresh. Just to be safe, brides carried a bouquet of fresh flowers to mask their body odor, creating the custom of carrying a bouquet when walking down the aisle! And, brides who married in June were very likely to give birth the following spring, allowing them sufficient time to get strong enough to work during the fall harvest.
Another celebration of love that takes place in June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBTQ Pride Month) that honors the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan which were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is an intentional perspective that characterizes most LGBTQ+ rights movements throughout the world. Pride represents a positive stand against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) that also bolsters their dignity, equal rights and increased visibility in society in order to help build community and celebrate sexual diversity.
Whatever the special magic associated with the month of June, there are few among us who would deny that it is a favorite time of year – not just for weddings, but for love itself. Perhaps it is because we associate June flowers with joy, June’s blue skies with our own inner sunshine, and June as the doorway to summertime delights. We can relate to the sentiments of poet, Valerie Dohren, in “My Lovely June”:
O June, dear June, for you I wait –
My longing ever shall abate
When you recur with all your grace
To lift my heart and light my face,
And thus my soul to full embrace.
Such pure delight, all heaven sent,
O June, my June, you bring content.
‘Tis you for whom I ever yearn,
Awaiting thus your prized return –
O June, my lovely June sojourn.