For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, June 21st will mark the day where the sun will be out for the longest period of time. In contrast, our neighbors in the Southern Hemisphere will experience the shortest day of the year and the beginning of their winter season.
Every summer solstice season, different cultures participate in traditions that celebrate the celestial event. Every year, visitors join to celebrate Stonehenge’s structural alignment with the rising sun. During the yearly Stonehenge Summer Solstice event, druids, pagans and non-religious revelers gather to celebrate through viewings of the sunrise & sunset, ritual celebrations, and dance.
In Egypt, the Great Pyramids at Giza become aligned with the summer solstice. Onlookers from the Sphinx can observe the sun setting perfectly between the Khufu and Khafre pyramids. In Scandinavian regions of the world, people welcome the summer with the traditional holiday, Midsummer. Through maypole dancing, drinking, and romantic traditions, celebrators uniquely celebrate the upcoming season.
With this year’s summer solstice fast approaching, here are some ways to join in on the celebrations.
- Plan an outdoor picnic and enjoy the sunshine. Around the globe, outdoor celebrations will be going on that help many enjoy the long sunny day and beautiful scenery. Traditionally, the summer solstice is used to celebrate light, renewal, and the future harvest abundance to come. Use your outdoor picnic to celebrate the plentiful summer fruits and vegetables that thrive under the wonderful summer sun.
- Light celebratory solstice candles to deter evil spirits. In Eastern Europe, many believe that fire deters the evil spirits that begin to roam freely as the sun sets. These fire rituals are believed to scare the wicked spirits that may ruin fruitful harvests. Fire during the solstice can be used to celebrate and promote good luck during the upcoming season.
- Collect summer herbs and flowers. Rooted in dating and fertility rituals, collecting summer herbs and flowers with medicinal properties is a popular activity during the summer solstice. Often, these bunches of summer herbs and flowers are hung in doorways or left in water as medicinal aids.
- Join in the celebration of the sun with dancing. Visitors in Stonehenge, England spend their summer solstice festival participating in religious ceremonies, music, and dancing while waiting for the first rays of sunrise to appear. At home, celebrators can join in by creating their own celebration with dancing, music, and fun.
While the Summer Solstice is one of the longest days of the year, be sure to enjoy this one while it lasts.