Yes, June 24th is International Fairy Day! Some think of a fairy as any magical creature but in the folklore of Britain and Ireland the range is less broad, encompassing various sprites, nature spirits — some with good intentions and some not quite-so-good!
For me, International Fairy Day is a day to celebrate that heritage and the stories of this spirits by all their names: the Wee Folk, Little People, the Fae, Faeries, Sidhe (Sí) and all the various types of faeries: the Banshees (Bean Sidhe, ancestral spirits and harbingers of death), Dullahans (headless faeries), elementals, elves, Grogoch (half-human, half-faerie), Leprechauns & Cluricauns, Merrows (sea faeries) & Selkies (shapeshifters who transform from human form to seal when in the sea), nymphs, Pookas (shape-shifting nature spirits), Sprites, Tree Spirits (dryads). Some myths say they originated with the Tuatha Dé Danann (the people of Danú) who retreated to the Sídhe (fairy mounds) and the Otherworld realms.
Tales of the Fae were shared by the seanachies (storytellers) in pre-Christian Ireland . . . myths and stories of great warriors and their battles with shapeshifters and other supernatural creatures from the Land of the Fae. And some of the superstitions around the Fae still exist. For instance, a lone tree in the middle of the field (especially a hawthorn) is considered a Faerie Tree, and cutting it down will bring very bad luck and a curse from the Faerie realms. And do not sleep outside at MidSummer or you may be kidnapped by the Fae!
Later these tales were transformed by influences from other cultures within the Celtic world (e.g. the Bretons) and outside of it (e.g. Norse, German), as well as the strong influence of the French medieval tales. The British Victorians and Edwardians were rather obsessed with Faeries, many claiming a strong belief in them (including Arthur Conan Doyle) and many were delighted by the “real” photos of fairies (the infamous Cottingley Fairies amongst them).
Celebrate the Fae today in your own way . . . as part of your MidSummer celebrations, by building a Faerie Garden in a container, by crafting a Faerie Door and affixing (in an environmentally sound way of course) to a tree, reading a favourite faerie tale, nibbling on Faerie cakes or drinking Faerie Tea.
Recipes for herbal Faerie tea
Wisteria Witches Faerie Tea
Source: Wisteria Witches YouTube video
lemon balm (good for dreamwork!) as a base
then, to taste:
thyme, dried and chopped
dried elderflower blossoms
dried hawthorn berries
optional: sliced almonds, dried apples, dried blueberries
Method: Wisteria Witches does not give amounts of each herb, instead encouraging you to go with your instinct. But you could start with 4 parts (or so!) of the lemon balm, then one part each of the thyme, elderflower and hawthorn berries. You can determine what a “part” is . . . a teaspoon, tablespoon, etc.
Blend the ingredients, then infuse 1-2 teaspoons in 8 ounces boiled water. Strain, then drink as is or sweeten with honey and even a touch of milk (the Fae love milk & honey!)
Plantain Fairy Tea (from Mountain Rose Herbs)
Source: Mountain Rose Herbs blog
1 tsp dried plantain leaves
1 tsp dried rose petals
1/2 tsp dried calendula
1/2 tsp lemon balm
Method: Infuse into 16 ounces of boiled water for 10 minutes, then strain and drink as is (or with a bit of honey).