It’s the Mostice we can ask for

Let's get this party continuing! image:

Let’s get this party continuing!

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s summer solstice — the longest day of the year — and all the pagan rituals that came with it. But as you rinse off the goat hair and patchouli oil, remember that it’s not entirely now a gentle but depressing decline towards winter. Rather, there is still cause to halfheartedly cheer, as today is the traditional celebration of the second-longest day of the year, the day after summer solstice, known as Second Mostice.

Second Mostice is less commonly celebrated than summer solstice, mostly because it’s fairly ridiculous, but the holiday does go all the way back to pagan times, as these things tend to do. Do you know what else goes back to pagan times? Celebrity ballroom dancing, except with fewer sequins.

Legend has it that Second Mostice was first observed by a Northumbrian Pict named Gorn of Deepoutcroft, thus named because when it came to choosing sides for the tribal softball team, he was always the last Pict.

“The last Pict”….

According to oral tradition, while his fellow tribesmen and the Druid priests were dancing and singeing their beards around their solstice bonfire, Gorn was off somewhere practicing the nose flute, which is part of the nasal tradition. Thus, he missed the entire solstice celebration. This is what happens when you base your calendar system on how long the sun’s been up.

When Gorn arrived at the location of the Solstice festivities and realized that he had missed out, he decided to take the sacrificial bull by the horns and celebrate the second-longest day of the year, shouting, “Druid to me one more time!”

“Druid to me…”

While most of the revelers were merely too hungover to bother going home, Gorn mistook their sleepy presence as an endorsement, and started referring to himself as Gorn of Partyhearty, which of course, like most self-imposed nicknames, didn’t stick, but nice try, Gorn.

From this first celebration comes the Second Mostice traditions of gathering indifferently around smouldering ashes, making the best of a mediocre situation and generally being ignored.

Other Second Mostice traditions include feasting on foods that have just passed their best before dates and cheering for professional sports teams that have lost in the championship finals. (Go Warriors!)

While Second Mostice rarely shows up in literature, Shakespeare did refer to it in his seldom-produced follow-up to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, entitled A Mid-Afternoon Nap, in which the mischievous sprite Puck magically transforms the bumbling carpenter Bottom into a slightly less bumbling carpenter.

In modern media, the spirit of Second Mostice lives on at this time of year in the summertime release of vastly inferior movie sequels.

The traditional toast of Second Mostice goes, “May the road incline slightly to meet you, may the wind always be a wee bit to the left, and may you be in heaven half an hour after the buses stop running.” And then you raise a glass that is 1 percent empty.

If you meet someone who tells you she’s lost 70 pounds, you should not say, “You look great. I mean, you must feel great. I mean, you must feel better about yourself. Healthier, I mean. Because that’s a lot of weight to be carrying around. 70 pounds. That’s a lot to lose. That’s half of me!” This has nothing to do with Second Mostice, just an embarrassing thing I recently said.

Ultimately, Second Mostice is a time to reflect on being runner-up, second best, pretty good, a bit of an afterthought. Some people also refer to this as Canada Day.

So enjoy your Second Mostice and what remains of this reasonably long period of daylight. As the saying goes, “Eat drink and be so-so, for tomorrow there’s leftovers.”


A version of this piece originally aired on CBC Radio’s “Breakaway.”


Finally, my Kickstarter campaign to help publish my novel has reached its goal. Thanks to everyone who had a hand in what has been an enjoyable exercise but with probably far too much of me up close on video. 


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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46 Responses to It’s the Mostice we can ask for

  1. ksbeth says:

    the ‘boxing day’ of the solstice calendar. enjoy what’s left, dear peasant. aka – ‘also ran.’

  2. Gorn should have know better than giving himself a nickname. For example, I’ve been calling myself thesuperhumanwonderstructure for years, nobody else has caught on. Tragic.

  3. Paul says:

    I understand there is a movement afoot (if more than one movement is it “afeet”?) to rename Second Mostice as Elizabeth Manley Day. We have named everything that can be named after a non-winner (note the politically correct term – distinctly Canadian – “We are all Non-Winners and are Proud”) “Manley”, so it fits perfect that she should get her own day. There was just a long struggle to find a day that qualified as a non-winning day. Now that your dedicated and elegant historical research has borne fruit (and vegetables and nuts and mastadon) it is clear that Second Mostice qualifies imminently. This leaves us with an apparent paradox Ross – perhaps you can help. You have just successfully named a new holiday in that inestimable Canadian way PLUS you have successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign (congrats!) simultaneously. This automatically qualifies you as a Winner! The problem is, how do we concatenate this with the fact that you discovered a day for non=winners, a second best day, The Second Mostice? Wait! Wait! I know! As a Canadian in the world you are a non-winner, but if we narrow the frame to just Canada, then we can see that a non-winner is the top of the heap, the rooster of the walk, the shooter of the drag, the kisser of the cod, the lover of the skunk (but only the descented type – like non-navel oranges, non-descented skunks can offer too many surprises that can break teeth by tripping when startled), the celebrator of Thanksgiving in October. In fact it is perfect. In the name of the frugal Canadian tradition of always having at least two applications for every action – the moose hunting season opens here on October 8 th this year. Thanksgiving is on October 10th, a Monday – of a long weekend that starts on October 8th. Which means that many avid hunters will take this long weekend to go moose hunting and many will add at least one extra day -Tuesday, October 11th – to their long weekend for moose hunting purposes. This day after Canadian Thanksgiving shall heretofor be named The Second Moostice. An example of celebrating the Second Moositce:

  4. Ned's Blog says:

    Wow. With that Mostice pun in the headline, you weren’t just whistling pixie.
    “whistling pixie…”

  5. Regarding the solstice:

    Regarding the video: An above ground pool? Really? In Canada? Do you shuffle to it through the snow in December with an ice pick to get the rocks into your scotch?

    Regarding your WordPress Gravatar: It now looks like your own baby brother. Either update the photo or stop posting video evidence that the coconut oil isn’t working.

  6. pinklightsabre says:

    “The last Pict…” I’m glad I get the pict references now, having seen some of the Pict thights while in the UK. I’m reminded of the song Afternoon Delight in your Shakespeare follow-up, a version the band the Circle Jerks did as part of a mix of songs called Golden Shower of Hits: gonna grab my baby, gonna hold her tight, gonna grab some afternoon delight — my motto’s always been…well OK. Sky rockets in flight.
    Did you actively cut the paragraph count down on this, as they were all pretty short? Or am I overthinking it, and should shut up — and does overthinking it get a hyphen, probably not. Only to laymen.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Radio pieces are shorter anyway, and I broke up a couple for print. Not sure why. I think because of general incoherence.
      Just watched an episode of Arrested Development where Michael Bluth sings “Afternoon Delight” with his neice, realizing halfway through what it’s about. Love that show.

  7. I’ve always wondered how to spell patchouli. You, sir, are a fountain of information.

    A punchline (of varying quality) in every paragraph. You can’t say you don’t give us our money’s worth. You are the Canadian Garrison Keillor.

  8. List of X says:

    I think you’re forgetting about the day that comes just before the solstice and is just as long as the Second Mostice – I think this day is called the Summer Almostice. It’s a celebration of those who celebrated or did something just a little too soon.

  9. Heather says:

    As an ex-Neopagan, I find this hilarious! Too many New Age books today have fake history about the occult. Happy Second Mostice!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Fake history is my thing!

    • Paul says:

      Wait, wait, an ex-neopagan? If you’re a non-neopagan now does that mean you are non-neo and hence an old pagan or does it men you are non-pagan? And if you’re non-pagan does that mean you have joined the army of Christ or Islam or Buddhism? These new fangled religious descriptions have my head spinning. Where are my stone tablets so I can make a note of all this?

      • Heather says:

        If you must know, I was Neopagan (or Pagan, it means the same thing for me) for nine years until I had a identity crisis. No, I’m not “non-Pagan” nor have I joined the “Army of Christ” or any other religion. Religion isn’t for me. That’s why I consider myself a philosophical atheist now.

        • Paul says:

          Hey, you brought it up – I have no need to know at all.

          • Heather says:

            Oh, no. Sorry. I didn’t mean to come off as mean or anything. I don’t mind people asking. Actually, your question gave me an idea for a blog post!

            • Paul says:

              No problem. The various forms of belief or non-belief do interest me when anyone wants to discuss – but many folks are private in their philosophies. 😀

              • Heather says:

                I’m not. I don’t mind telling someone about what happened. Currently, I’m working on a few posts (I write about science as well as personal stuff) so when I finish with that, I can write about my philosophy.

  10. I liked your old gravatar. I know. There’s no pleasing all of the people. Or any of the people. Or pixies. Or elves. Or wizards.
    Great post.

  11. Tez says:

    I love how you play with the Canadian version of the English language. Just too funny for words.

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