5 Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice is a time for celebration!
Historically, the summer solstice has had a firm place amongst most cultures and religions. A time to celebrate the longest day and the gifts that mother nature blesses us with. In fact, some cultures take the summer solstice with as much celebration as Christmas and birthdays!
When is the summer solstice?
This question also sits in with ‘what is the summer solstice?’ in many ways! Firstly, the day is not fixed to a specific date. The summer solstice is when the sun has reached its northernmost point from the equator. Typically, this happens in mid-June around the 20th, 21st, or 22nd of the month. This year, 2020, it rests on the 20th but the summer solstice in 2021 will be on the 21st of June!
What does Solstice mean?
Fascinatingly, the word solstice comes from the Latine word solstitium. The literal translation is the sun – sol, standing still – stitium. This standing still of the sun is a reflection of the feeling the never-ending day that the longest hours of sunlight brings. Likewise, we also have the winter solstice of the shortest day! This is a reflection of the sun feeling like it stands still in the sky and hardly rises at all!
So, what can you do to celebrate the summer solstice?
You will be glad to know you won’t have to become a pagan or druid to celebrate the summer solstice! There are plenty of ways that you can get involved! In almost all cultures the thing that unites their celebrations is giving thanks to the earth and gratitude for nature. With that in mind, there is an almost endless way that you can enjoy the longest day. Here are our top 5 ways to celebrate the summer solstice.
Start the Day With the Sun
One of our favourite ways is to rise with the sun. Starting the day early and getting out into nature is the best way to begin any day but on the longest day, it feels even better! Firstly, connecting to the rhythms of the day allows us to feel more connected to the earth. Secondly, it creates this magical time where your day hasn’t really begun yet giving you plenty of time to take your morning slowly. Make a cup of tea, take it out and sit somewhere you can listen to the bird song get louder as the sun gets higher. in 2020, the sunrise for the summer solstice will be at an early bird 4.46 am but first light beginning around 3.30 am!
Spend the Whole Day Outside
This is actually something we don’t do very often. Even for those of us that love the great outdoors and being in nature rarely commit to a full day outside unless we are camping! Honestly, it takes a little bit of preparation beforehand. Start by creating a picnic basket of delicious goodies and pack a bag with everything you may need for your adventure. See if you can spend the whole day out and about, walking, sitting, watching, and listening.
Give Gaia an Offering
The solstice is celebrated across almost every religion and culture in some way, even if it is historically. In most of these traditions, mother nature is celebrated and offerings are made! Some use it as a time to dedicate their meditations and prayers to the earth, others spend hours singing and chanting in hopes for abundance as they transition to the shorter days. For some, physical offerings are made, and gifts are given. You could create a small shrine in your home using leaves, sticks, and flowers or create a mandala in your garden using the gifts of nature around you. Whatever you do or dedicate, do it with love for the earth.
Get Creative, Get Connected
In Sweden, the summer solstice is known as mid-summer and is one of the most celebrated times of the year. Families and friends gather together for feasts and fun, dancing, singing, and creating. Gather your loved ones and enjoy a (sensibly socially distanced of course) al fresco lunch together! A beautiful tradition in Sweden is the creation of flower crowns. Starting the day with a walk to pick wildflowers they then create beautiful flower crown to wear for the remainder of the day!
Watch the Sunset
Who doesn’t love watching the sunset!? For the 2020 summer solstice, the sun will set at 9.21 pm but the last light won’t be until nearly 10.30 pm! That gives you plenty of time to enjoy the day especially if you also woke up for sunrise!
How to Celebrate Summer Solstice with Social Distancing
Let’s be fair, 2020 has been a unique (and pretty wild!) year. Traditionally in the UK, thousands of people have flocked to festivals and sites like Stone Henge to dance and unite in celebration. Sadly, this will not be the case this year. Instead, these events will all be broadcast live on various platforms online so that you can still be a part of the experience and celebration from the safety of your own home!
If you have joined one of our retreats before you probably already know that we love to spend time outdoors and celebrating the gifts of mother nature! Join us on one of our retreats in the UK or yoga holidays abroad and embrace our love for adventure with us!