Summer Solstice: 8 Fun Ways To Celebrate The Beginning of Summer
The summer solstice happening between June 20th and 22nd each year is one of the oldest known holidays. As early as the Stone Age, humans celebrated this longest day of the year, which marks the astrological beginning of summer.
The word ‘solstice’ means ‘sun’ plus ‘standing still’—when the sun stands still. Different cultures had similar traditions around the world to honor this event. They danced, created bonfires, sang songs, and feasted—many still do today.
This year, the summer solstice falls on June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere exactly as 3:07 a.m. Pacific Time. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, people celebrate its opposite—the winter solstice.
For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, there are traditions that are well fitted even in today’s world that will welcome the sun and the beginning of the growing season with you.
The History of the Summer Solstice
The summer solstice happens when the North Pole is tipped more towards than sun than the rest of the year. Because of this natural phenomenon, the sun appears to be highest in the sky, and the daylight is the longest (while the night is the shortest).
People living in ancient times have noticed this early in human history and created many traditions to remember and honor this day.
During the Stone Age era, humans may have used this day as the marker to start planting summer crops. In Ancient Egypt, remembering it helped in preparing for the annual flooding. People in Ancient Greece used the summer solstice as the beginning of the calendar year.
Finally, the view between the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx marks the summer solstice, and archaeologists have debated that one of the purposes of the Stonehenge may be that it aligns with both of the solstices.
The summer solstice was also celebrated by ancient Romans and Chinese, Central European pagans, as well as Christians, Vikings, and Native American tribes. Many of these cultures have kept some traditions to this day and celebrate the summer solstice with midsummer festivities, especially in Europe.
This holiday that seems to be as ancient as time is celebrated today to honor the beginning of summer and bask in the gratitude for its sunny days and fruitful energy of pure potential. The summer solstice is the celebration of the good forces winning over darkness and the magic of creation in anticipation of the harvest in just a few months.
Summer Solstice Celebration Ideas
To gather, absorb, and celebrate this wonderful energy, you can join some of the biggest summer solstice celebration in the world—like the one at Stonehenge—or you can create your own celebration wherever you are.
Drive Away the “Dark” with Bonfires
One of the oldest superstitions around the summer solstice is that the long light of this day can attract many dark spirits—like moths to the flame. To protect each other against these forces, people used to make huge bonfires to “chase away the evil.”
The superstition may be outdated and caused by unconscious fears as well as not being in touch with reality. However, the tradition lives on in a more symbolic sense. Making a bonfire is a great way to get people you know together for good conversations while creating a peaceful, magical feeling of the atmosphere.
To take it a step further, you can create a practical ritual around the bonfire—like a fire burning ceremony. A fire ceremony is a shamanic tradition often used to let go of things from the past. These can be past traumas or just things that no longer serve you; it can help separate you from unwanted energies or attachments to events, situations, and people.
You can make a written list of things that you do not want to keep with you into the summer, or even burn physical objects that remind you of the things you want to release. While doing so, you can say a prayer, sing a song, or a chant of your choice that empowers you.
Use Medicinal Plants to Involve the Spirit of Nature
Many cultures in the past planted gardens during the summer solstice and said their gratitude to the forces of nature that would offer their harvest months later. For example, the ancient Greeks celebrated a festival Kronia, which honored the god of agriculture Cronus. Today, working with the plants and plant medicines is still a great way to connect with Mother Nature.
You can plant medicinal flowers in your backyard and may choose to follow the Medicine Wheel Garden tradition used by North American Indians—where every plant has its proper place.
For a crafts project that can be done with a whole family, make sun wheel wreath with flowers and leaves. If you are looking for something to prepare for a celebratory meal, create solstice sun tea by putting put a jar of tea leaves in water in the sun. Finally, get out and enjoy nature. This day is even more important than ever to connect with the energy of our planet.
Various Summer Solstice Activities
- Travel: If you are feeling like making a vacation out of the summer solstice, the Stonehenge in England has been gathering mystics from all over the world every year. For a more of a big city vibe, the Times Square in New York City has hosted a day-long summer solstice yoga event for over a decade.
- Charge crystals and jewelry with sunlight. To harness and save the summer solstice energy, you can place an object to charge from the sunlight. The most common ones to charge are crystals and jewelry that you wear.
- Have a feast (or a meal) filled with summer foods to celebrate the season and honor the sun,
- Collect fresh flowers and make flower essences.
- Do sun salutations from a yoga practice. The traditional number of daily sun salutations to complete is 108.
- Play in the sun! Make sure to soak the sunshine in during the solstice by going to the beach, a park, or somewhere in nature.
A Trick to Staying Hydrated This Summer the Right Way (Most Don’t Do This!)