Monday, 15 June 2015

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

In the northern hemisphere the longest day of the year is celebrated at Midsummer, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, the Summer Solstice.

Many people get together to worship the rising sun and welcome summer, a time of fertility and life. A time of bounty and being grateful for all that the fruits of summer has to offer. Fires are lit, a symbol of passion and creation and flower crowns worn, woven from meadow blooms and birch, particularly in Sweden.

There are many rituals and customs and you can learn more about the Summer Solstice at TheCircle where you can seek spiritual guidance at this mystical time of year. Known as Litha to Pagans, the Solstice was a time when villages built bonfires, called 'setting the watch' to keep the evil spirits away. It was also thought that if you stayed up all in night in a stone circle you would see fairy folk, one for me to try as I am Fae obsessed.
Flower crown
Image source: Flower Crown Shutterstock
Locally to me in Chester. we have the Midsummer Watch Parade, a spectacle of giants, unicorns, dragons and colourful dancers winding their way through the Medieval cobbled streets. The procession was recorded first in Tudor times and then was banned by the Puritans in the 17th century. Fortunately it started up again in recent times and is a key spectacle on the Cheshire calendar.

Things to do for the Summer Solstice:

Bake flower cakes with edible flowers such as violets, marigolds and rose petals. A colourful summer confetti cake for midsummer tea.

Drink mead, a drink of summer containing honey, toast to the start of summer.

Go to the Golowan Festival in Penzance, Cornwall for a week long event with markets, music and processions that end on Mazey Day.

Bring flowers and herbs into your home to brighten it up for summer. Jam jars of flowers from the garden with sprigs of rosemary and sage for an aromatic bouquet.
herb bouquets
Image source: herb bouquet Shutterstock

Look out for Midsummer bonfire events, mainly in Cornwall, where they are lit as beacons along the coastline in succession.

Say goodbye to the Oak King now we are moving into the second half of the year, we bring in the Holly King.

Have a summer solstice party, hang up the bunting and make summer cocktails.

Make sun wands, mobiles and catchers with the children. Summer solstice crafting as a quiet, thoughtful activity.

Have an evening picnic, string up the fairy lights and light fragrant candles. Look up at the stars and enjoy the magic. Stay up for sunrise if you can...................

Take some time to meditate, with some fragrant incense and the sounds of nature. Nothing like some quiet time on a balmy evening to refresh the soul.
pretty garden bunting
Image source: bunting Shutterstock

Follow Happy Homebird's board Midsummer Party on Pinterest.

Post in collaboration with TheCircle


Jen Walshaw said...

My brother is a solstice baby. We make lanterns and bring flowers in to our home. We love celebrating with the children and this is a great reason too

Sonia said...

oooh I love the crafting ideas, I'm going to look into this more and see how we can celebrate x

missielizzie said...

Your local parade sounds fabulous. We've never done anything to celebrate, it's always a busy time for us, but I will look and see what's going on nearby. x

Kara said...

I would never have thought of having a summer solstice party, but would love to experience stone henge on that day as its my birthday!

Beautyqueenuk said...

I think a summer solstice party sounds like a great idea x

Erica Price said...

I heard about a favourite restaurant of ours having something like this - meal and seeing the sun down and up. Fancied doing it, but sadly the restaurant closed. Looks a lot of fun.

lisa prince said...

i have never heard of this before but i love the idea

Nayna Kanabar said...

What a lovely tradition, I think this would be a lovely celebration of the festival.

pinkoddy said...

I think these are great ideas and I am sure my boys would love to try and stay up.

Globalmouse said...

I really wish we did more to celebrate the summer (and winter) solstice in this country - I love all of those pagan traditions. Lovely collection of photos.

Sarah Bailey said...

What some lovely ideas - I love the idea of seeing the summe rin.

Dad Creek said...

I had no idea there were so many ways to celebrate summer solstice. Im always intrigue by what goes on at places like Stonehenge though.

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