The summer solstice is a festival of fire (Litha), also known as Midsummer. It is celebrated on or around the 21st June, marking longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere, and the official beginning of summer.
Traditionally the summer solstice is celebrated by those of the pagan faith, including druids and wiccans, seeing the Wheel of the Year turning into its next stage. But anyone and everyone, from all cultures around the world, can appreciate and celebrate this day.
The summer solstice is when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer, and results in the Northern Hemisphere having the most daylight in a day. However, it doesn’t see the earliest sunrise, as you may think; this tends to happen a few days before. Anywhere in the Arctic Circle will see sunlight for a whole twenty four hours around the time of the summer solstice.
So how do you celebrate perhaps the favourite solstice of the year? There are many different and easy ways for everyone to celebrate this glorious time of year.
Whether alone, with friends or family, get outside and take advantage of the day thats stays the lightest the longest. Go for a hike in the countryside and get back to nature, observe and listen and see how much wildlife you can spot. If you are taking children, make it a fun day out by creating a sheet where they can mark off trees, plants and animals that they see. Take a picnic with you and find a beautiful spot with a view where you can see for miles and miles.
Stop for some time and meditate. Listen to what is around you. Sit or lay down if you can and close your eyes, let the sounds, the breeze and the sunlight relax you. Take deep breaths and feel the stresses you carry in your shoulders drain away. Feel the long grass around you running through your fingertips, and drift off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Normally associated with autumn, bonfires are a great way to celebrate the summer solstice – after all it is a festival of fire, celebrating the power of the sun.
Light a bonfire in the evening and have a barbeque alongside it. Invite your friends and family and celebrate having them close by. With lovely summer food and drink flowing, play music, and watch the sunset in the evening. Decorate the garden with bunting, balloons, fairy lights and solar lights and turn your garden into a fun, lively atmosphere. If it is a particular hot day, put the sprinklers on and get the paddling pool out, so the children and adults too can run through them. What’s not to love?
What better way to celebrate the longest day of the year than at the most sacred and famous place to do so – Stonehenge.
On this day for many centuries now people have gathered at Stonehenge to watch and celebrate the sunrise perfectly above the Heel Stone, which is very much a sacred and famous tradition known throughout the world. People cheer, dance and kiss the stones to the sound of drums playing at the time of the sunrise, and it provides a great atmosphere of happiness and celebration. It is a popular tradition, with around 20,000 people going every year.
The reason as to why Stonehenge is located where it is and designed as it is is still unknown, however what it does confirm is how people from thousands of years ago studied, worked, lived around and worshipped the sun.
Why don’t you take a look at our selection of hampers to see which you’d like to take with you if you go out and about to celebrate this glorious day?