You don’t need to be a hippie to be a summer lover.
The summer solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has been historically celebrated in many traditions and religions with sun-worshipping festivals and rituals. These festivals typically include dancing around bonfires, creating alters with herbs and candles…you know, hippie stuff.
This year, the summer solstice will occur on Friday, June 21st. Here are some energizing ways to celebrate and maximize the longest day of the year.
What is the summer solstice?
The solstice occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the sun. This happens twice a year – once in the Northern Hemisphere and once in the Southern Hemisphere. The Northern Hemisphere experiences the solstice between June 20 through 22, and many have dubbed the event as the official marker of the first day of summer. Overall, the summer solstice has been celebrated in many cultures and religions to honor the power of the sun. The word “solstice” is derived from the Latin word “solstitium,” meaning “sun-stopping.”
Humans may have begun celebrating the summer solstice as early as the Stone Age. Stonehenge, which was constructed between approximately 8,000 and 5,000 years ago, was perhaps designed in accordance with the summer solstice. The arches and stones align perfectly with the rising sun on the morning of the solstice, and historians believe it may have been the site of festivals and rituals (although its purpose is still widely debated).
The celebration of summer solstice goes by a few different names today. Many Northeastern Europeans, including those in Nordic, Slavic, and Celtic cultures, refer to the solstice and days leading up to it as “midsummer.” In Pagan and Wiccan traditions, it is known as “Litha.” Many solstice celebrations today include heavy influence from these Pagan traditions and practices, including feasts, bonfires, and dancing around a Maypole. However, it holds spiritual significance for many people even outside of established traditions and religions.
How to celebrate the solstice your own way
There are many traditional and non-traditional ways to celebrate the summer solstice, and you don’t need to subscribe to any particular religion or culture to do so. It’s all about finding ways to rejuvenate yourself, cherish the summer sun, and enjoy the vitality, warmth, and energy of the summer season. Here are a few ways to draw on the energy of the solstice throughout the day.
1. Practice sunrise yoga, meditation, or mindfulness.
The morning sun holds an exquisite kind of power. Many find the symbolism of dawn and a new day to be uniquely invigorating. Take advantage of this by starting the day off with a mindfulness exercise, either through practicing meditation, yoga, or even savoring a cup of coffee. Begin the day with a dropperful or two of Hemp Complete CBD Oil to help you find your balance and start the day on the right foot. Try to find a place outdoors if you can, although a window facing the sun will work just fine, too. Soak in the quietude of the morning and energize yourself with the early rays of the sun to fully maximize the longest day of the year.
2. Wear your favorite summer outfit.
Traditional summer solstice attire includes bright colors representative of the sun: red, orange, and yellow. Carry the energy of the sun with you throughout your day by choosing your favorite summer outfit to wear with prominent “sun colors.” Maybe even tuck your favorite flower or sprig of an herb into your hair or clothes.
3. Make a solstice-themed breakfast.
Traditional solstice foods are also symbolic of the sun’s colors. Celebrations typically include fresh-grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs including lemons, oranges, mangoes, corn, tomatoes, and fennel. Start the day off with a delicious, healthy, summery breakfast featuring organic, sun-loving produce. Make a scrambled egg or vegan skillet with tomatoes, corn, yellow squash, red peppers, spinach, and mushrooms. Or try a delicious yogurt parfait with unflavored Greek or soy yogurt, fresh squeezed lemon juice, honey or agave syrup, your favorite granola mix, and fresh chopped peaches and nectarines. Go for an extra dose of herbal infusion with a chamomile lavender latte.
4. Enjoy the outdoors.
You don’t have to have a summer solstice ritual or dedicated celebration to honor the event. As mentioned, the purpose of the holiday is to celebrate the power of the sun and all of the wonderful things that come from it. You can honor the gift of the sun and the gift of your own strength by partaking in any activity you enjoy outdoors. Even for those who aren’t outdoorsy, you can just grab your favorite book, card game, or person and find a lovely, sunny spot to enjoy yourself and the nature around you. Make sure to wear sunscreen! If you have a garden, the solstice is THE day to be out there. Even if it ends up being a rainy day, you can still reflect on the power and importance of the sun. Whenever you walk outside, observe the way the sunlight touches everything, even through clouds and rain. Its energy and light persist, just like yours (awww).
5. Try your hand at a midsummer craft.
This is a great solstice activity for those with artsy souls and/or young kids. Let your creativity flow in a visual way by playing with some solstice-themed crafts. Teach your little ones how to follow the path of the sun and understand time by making a sundial for your garden. Capture the light of the sun inside your home with a beaded suncatcher (you can even use pieces of old Bluebird bottles for this – just be careful not to cut yourself!). Or, go for midsummer tradition and build a flower crown with your favorite leaves and blooms.
6. Get all of the fresh plants you can.
It’s amazing how much fresh plants can brighten up a room, and summer solstice is the time to honor this beauty that comes from the sun. Cut some fresh flowers and greenery from your own backyard or hit up your local nurseries and farmers markets for some summery bouquets. Flowers and herbs like sunflowers, marigolds, poppies, chamomile, and lavender have been used throughout the ages in midsummer celebrations. Place a variety of bouquets around your home and work space to enjoy all throughout the day.
7. Have a community potluck dinner and bonfire.
Summer solstice festivals are about celebrating with others. Invite your friends and family over for a community potluck and bonfire. If you’d prefer not to host or don’t have the space, see if there are any fun local events or neighborhood parties. Enjoy a feast with your friends and loved ones, and reflect on the joy and energy the sunlight has brought you throughout the day. Finally, enjoy the last hours of daylight outside around a nice, toasty bonfire.