7 tips for how to celebrate the summer solstice!
Celebrating the solstice might seem a little too wild for some. In many areas of the world having a celebration for the summer solstice (called midsummer) is an annual event. Unfortunately, it's not a big thing in North America and many people aren't even aware that it happens. But you don't have to be Swedish, a Druid, or trek to Stonehenge to celebrate in style. The solstice, which falls on Thursday, June 21 this year, marks the beginning of summer and the longest day (as in daylight) of the year. For many, this is a celebration where we can connect with each other, and reconnect with the world around us.
After a long winter, and a possible turbulent spring it is important to get back outside and interact with nature. People often talk about "getting back to nature", but nature is intrinsic to who we are, not something that's just lost to modernity.
But how do you celebrate the summer solstice? Below you'll find some ways to celebrate the solstice. If that isn't your jam, I have a dip below that is sure to please anyone at your next barbecue. Happy summer!
Play with Flowers
An easy way how to celebrate the supper solstice is using flowers. Since this season is all about abundance and the wealth of the garden, take some time to surround yourself with its bounty. A few of my favourite ways to do this include having a gathering with close friends where we press flowers, make floral crows/wreaths, or work together to create a mandala of sorts (small one pictured above) with foraged flowers. The later makes for a magical centrepiece to host outdoor suppers or women's gatherings.
Harness the Heat of the Sun
The solstice is the longest lady of the year (and from here on in, days will be growing shorter and shorter towards Autumn) so it only makes sense to harness the heat of the day while it's available.
Using the force of the sun can be a simple yet satisfying way to pay homage to its power while connecting to the rhythm of the world we're apart of. A few ways this can be achieved is by using the sun to dehydrate, cook, or as I love to do, allowing it to steep some plant medicine through making sun tea.
Simply combine your favourite herbs (or black/green tea) in room temperature water and leave in the sun to steep for a few hours. My favourite flavours include steeping dried nettle + mint, peppermint + lemon balm, or skullcap + chamomile.
Hold an Outdoor Gathering
The best way to honour the sun and the earth is to get out there! Spend as much time as you can outside. Pick up trash at your local park or beach, enjoy a hike or spend the afternoon waterside.
If time is an issue try to wake up early and get some sun salutations in at dawn. Maybe catch the sunset at your favourite beach or mountain top. For me, hosting a gathering is a way to feel connected to the world and each other. Lay out some blankets and pillows, set up a flower mandala, put up some outdoor lights, and feast under the setting sun.
Decorate for the Season
The concept of making an altar may seem too far out there for some. If you think about it, many of us decorate buffets and mantles for everything from Thanksgiving to national holidays, so while not summer?
While what one puts on display will vary from person to person, I like to fill my mantle with freshly trimmed garden flowers, candles, something fragrant like incense, a prism to catch the suns rays, and bits of nature I collect over these warmer months (like shells, pinecones, and driftwood). I like to keep this up all summer and add to it as the season progresses.
Surround Yourself with Flames
Just about every culture which celebrates midsummer (solstice) pays a heavy tribute to fire. Fire reflects the warmth of the sun and from now on the days are shorter and we need more light.
Building a bonfire to spend the night around is my dream, but since I live in the city, candles and charcoal barbecues will have to do. If you do have the spot for a fire, just make sure there are no burning bans in your area and be responsible and make sure it is both controlled a properly extinguished.
If none of these are feasible, there is nothing wrong with pulling out the fairy lights for that extra glow <3
Set Seasonal Intentions
Each new season is a great time to reset, recharge, and reevaluate. Take this time to focus on your seasonal goals and what you want to accomplish over the next four months, or journal about your adventures over the last four. This is also a wonderful day to pull some cards, set intentions, and reflect. I used the bonfire tarot spread found here.
Eat the Rainbow
Many of us have access to summer fruits and veggies all year long, but there is so much beauty in holding off and saving them for when they're in their prime.
Be sure to indulge in the richness of local produce, packing in fresh melons, berries, tender salad greens, and herbs. If you need any excuse to have a feast, now is the time.
Toss together a snack board with favourite veggies, dips (see the recipe below), nuts, and crackers - or throw a more elaborate feast. Below is my ideal outdoor menu.
- Umeboshi + Cilantro Cabbage Slaw - Kosmic Kitchen
- Watermelon Limeade - Tending the Table
- Golden Split Pea Patties - The First Mess
- Shaved Fennel Salad - 101 Cookbooks
- Baked Squash Blossoms with Miso Cashew Cheese - Will Frolic
- Summer Celebration Tart - My New Roots
- Real Deal Summer Water - Kale and Caramel
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds (soaked for at least 6 hours)
- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 5 tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup loosely packed cilantro
- ½ cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley
- 1 avocado
- 3 tbsp. tahini
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp-¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup water
- Veggies, crackers, olive oil, and dukkah or seeds.
- Drain the pumpkin seeds and combine them in a blender or food processor along with all the ingredients except the water. Begin to purée adding just enough water to make a hummus like consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as neededGarnish with olive oil, fresh herbs, and dukkah prior to serving.