Middle Earth Merrymaking: Elven Midsummer Fest

Tarnin Austa Veren! Joyous Gates of Summer!

We’re happy to introduce a new feature focusing on the holidays of Tolkien’s world: Middle Earth Merrymaking!

Tarnin Austa, meaning Gates of Summer (or more literally, in Sindarin: “Passage into Summer”) is an elven fest first celebrated by the elves of Gondolin.

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Tarnin Austa is thought to be a Midsummer-esque fest and is mentioned in the Book of Lost Tales: Part Two:

And now at great length is that great fest of Tarnin Austa or the Gates of Summer near at hand. For know that on that night it was their custom to begin a solemn ceremony at midnight, continuing it even until the dawn of Tarnin Austa broke, and no voice was uttered in the city from midnight until the break of day, but the dawn they hailed with ancient songs.

There is no official date given, but it is assumed the fest would be around the summer solstice and Midsummer’s Day. Since the summer solstice was yesterday and Midsummer’s Day (according to the Shire calendar) is tomorrow, we figured today was a good day to designate as Tarnin Austa!

We imagine Tarnin Austa would follow in the tradition of other elven fests and involve lots of feasting and drinking, as well as singing and dancing. Since it is a summer fest, we also imagine there would be lots of decorating with flowers and quite possibly, the crafting of flower crowns.

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Can’t you just picture the elves wandering in the woods, singing merry summer songs as they pick flowers for their crowns?

You can make your own flower crown to celebrate Midsummer’s Day and the beginning of summer, by following this awesome tutorial.

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Of course, an elven summer fest wouldn’t be complete without an appropriately summery beverage, like a berry cordial.

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We found an this yummy, elven-inspired cordial over at Middle Earth Recipes.

(If you’re on Tumblr, we’d definitely recommend giving the Middle Earth Recipes blog a follow!)

Elven Summer Berry Cordial

Ingredients

4 cups / 945 mL apple cider
1 pint / 290 g fresh strawberries, chopped
¼ cup / 25 g fresh blueberries
1 apple, sliced
½ lemon, sliced
2 tablespoons / 50 g strawberry jam, preferably homemade
1 teaspoon / 4 g cinnamon OR 1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon / 2 g ground cloves OR 1 teaspoon / 4 g whole cloves

Directions

Combine all ingredients in saucepan and heat on stove. Let simmer for 15 minutes – 1 hour. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined colander. Serve warm or chilled.

The cordial can be served cold for a refreshing treat after an afternoon of flower-picking, or warm for a chilly summer evening of singing songs and watching the stars.

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Don’t forget, if you do celebrate the passage into summer, you can test out your Sindarin (the common elven tongue) by saying phrases such as: Panno i hûl nín! (Fill my cup!) or Tolo, mado a sogo uin mereth! (Come, eat and drink of the feast!)

Or of course: Mae govannen, laer! Well met, summer!

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That’s all for now; Happy summer from us at Breakfast Second!

Always remember: adventure first, breakfast second

-Marissa and Victoria

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Model: Marissa
Photo credit (for the shots of Marissa): Marissa’s younger sister, Ellie
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