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The summer solstice (sometimes called midsummer) is the longest day of the year—and it's been celebrated for centuries all around the world. This solstice is a universal symbol of light, life, growth, and the prospect of a bountiful harvest in the future. The summer solstice falls on June 21st in the northern hemisphere and December 21st in the southern hemisphere. Keep reading, and we'll show you how to celebrate this joyful day, whether you want to recreate the midsummer rituals of the past or create new, modernized summer solstice activities of your own!
1 1 of 16:Observe sunrise and sunset on the summer solstice.
- Give thanks for the solstice light as you watch it begin and end. Many people celebrate the solstice by simply observing it. Look up the exact time for sunrise and sunset in your area, and pick a place to sit and observe.XResearch source A backyard works fine, though some prefer a more open vista. Try visiting a field or public park to get an unobscured view of the sun.
2 2 of 16:Go sunbathing during the day.
- Sunbathing helps you relax and draw energy from the solstice sunshine. Since the summer solstice is the longest day of the year, another simple way you can appreciate the extra light is to sunbathe for 20 to 30 minutes. Head out to a favorite spot in your yard, or find a nearby park or beach to visit. Close your eyes, feel the sun on your skin, and visualize pulling the energy from that sunlight into your body.XResearch source
- Bring a foldable lounge chair or yoga mat, so you have something to sit on.
- Make sure you apply sunscreen before going outside to avoid sunburn!
3 3 of 16:Meditate or do yoga outdoors.
- Meditation and yoga will help you find inner peace and balance. Try the sun salutation and the tree pose or simply sit quietly for a while. Meditation and yoga are intended to exercise both your body and your soul, balancing both in harmony through thought and physical movement. Begin this routine on the morning of the summer solstice and aim to make it a daily habit from this time on.
4 4 of 16:Play in the water.
- Greet the first day of summer and the sun while enjoying the water. Visit a local river, lake, waterfall, or beach and enjoy the scenery. Float in the water, swim around the area, or look for interesting fish and other aquatic creatures. Use your senses to explore the nature surrounding you, and take note of sights, smells, sounds, and touches as you spend a day relaxing in the water.
5 5 of 16:Make a flower crown.
- Flower crowns are a traditional symbol in European celebrations. Collect flowers from your garden or get some from a garden shop, selecting flowers with thin stems and fragrant blossoms for the best effect. Ideal flowers include lavender, rosemary, spray roses, daisies, peonies, eucalyptus, tiny chrysanthemums, and baby's breath. To make the flower crown:
- Measure a piece of grapevine wire to fit your head and secure the ends with floral tape, forming the base of the crown.XResearch source
- Attach a light layer of greenery around the base of the crown with floral tape. Ivy, eucalyptus, or myrtle are all great options for this step.
- Tape together small flower bunches with one big statement flower (roses, daisies, and peonies are all large and colorful) and a couple of filler flowers (like lavender and baby's breath).XResearch source
- Put together roughly 8 small bunches of flowers, then attach them around the length of the crown with floral tape.
6 6 of 16:Create a solstice suncatcher.
- To honor the day, decorate your home with DIY sun-inspired crafts. Suncatchers are a traditional symbol of the summer solstice, and the whole family can make them—adults, kids, and everyone in between.XResearch source By making a glass gem suncatcher, you can capture the beauty of the sun's light and enjoy rainbows dancing off the walls of your home. To make one:
- Squeeze clear school glue into a circular plastic lid (any reused butter, yogurt, or sour cream lid will work).
- Place colored flat glass gems into the glue, arranging them in any pattern or design you want. Then, add another layer of glue over the top of the gems to solidify your design.
- Let the glue dry for 4 to 5 days. Once dry, remove your new suncatcher from the plastic lid and hot-glue a length of ribbon to the suncatcher so that you can hang it up and enjoy it.
7 7 of 16:Make an altar of light.
- Arrange candles, flowers, seasonal fruits, and crystals on a table. Set up the small table wherever you want and gather a selection of sun and summer-themed decorations in shades of orange, yellow, gold, and white.XResearch source Design your altar of light any way you want; you have creative freedom as long as it reflects the colors and ideals of midsummer.
- Incorporate crystals associated with the sun like citrine, pyrite, and carnelian.
- Seasonal fruits that would work well with the alter include peaches, tangerines, and tomatoes.
- Sunflowers, marigolds, and yellow or orange roses would match the altar perfectly.
8 8 of 16:Gather symbolic midsummer herbs.
- Use herbs in summer solstice rituals that bring healing and success. In Celtic tradition, herbs like St. John's wort, vervain, yarrow, fern, and mugwort are all sacred and associated with the summer solstice. Other meaningful herbs include lavender, rose, heather, frankincense, and fennel.XResearch source Pick herbs from around your garden (or visit a plant nursery and purchase them) for use in a summer solstice ritual.
- One way to use the herbs is to simply make sweet-smelling incense from them.
- Another widespread use for solstice herbs is to create a charm from them. Place your gathered herbs in a small burlap bag and tie it with elastic string, so you can wear the herbs as a protective amulet.
- Alternatively, just store the bag of herbs in a purse or backpack you carry with you often. In midsummer tradition, it’ll serve as a fragrant good-luck charm!
9 9 of 16:Plant a garden.
- Summer solstice traditionally signifies a bountiful future harvest. Nowadays, a great way to carry on that celebration of growth and harvest is to start a garden or plant new flowers and herbs in an existing one.XResearch source Prepare your soil to receive plants by tilling and mixing in compost or fertilizer. Select plants from your local garden shop, or ask your friends or neighbors for cuttings from their gardens. Then:
- Dig holes large enough for each plant, and be sure to leave enough space for the plants to grow.
- Gently place the plants in the holes and fill the space with dirt or fertilizer.
- Water the newly planted flowers and enjoy your garden.
10 10 of 16:Play outdoor games with the whole family.
- Help loved ones connect with nature using games and activities.Set up an obstacle course, create a scavenger hunt, or kick off some yard games like tag or hide and seek.XResearch source The summer solstice is a time of renewal, and that means you can embrace childlike wonder, let loose, and play like a kid all over again!
- Use common household items to set up a fun obstacle course. Set up a sprinkler in the yard, and use pool noodles, chalk, hula hoops, and kids’ jump ropes to design your challenges.
- For a scavenger hunt, hide numbered clues around the area that'll lead players to fun summer prizes like water shooters and glow sticks.
11 11 of 16:Host a solstice feast.
- Enjoy a meal made from fresh seasonal foods with friends and family. Go to local farms or markets and choose the freshest ingredients for your feast. Make dishes using items the color of the sun, like lemons, squash, papayas, corn, oranges, bananas, carrots, peppers, peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, mangoes, grapefruit, and sweet potatoes.
12 12 of 16:Hold a bonfire gathering.
- Solstice bonfire rituals include food, dancing, music, and storytelling. Bonfires were a vital part of ancient summer solstice celebrations, historically used to ward off evil spirits. Now, you can reinvent the bonfire as a great reason to hold a summer solstice party with friends. Invite your guests to sit in a circle around the fire, tell stories, sing songs, and recite poetry as part of the festivities.XResearch source
- For another healing ritual, write down something you want to let go of on a piece of paper. Choose a memory, a regret, or a source of anxiety. Take a deep breath and throw the paper into the fire, letting your troubles burn away.XResearch source
13 13 of 16:Keep a firelight vigil.
- Light a candle or fire before sundown and keep it lit until the sun rises. Some Pagans did this to ritually tend the sun's flame through the shortest night until the Wheel of the Year (the seasonal ritual cycle) turns toward the dark half of the year again at dawn. Firelight vigils are both a celebration of the peak of light and a way of honoring the gifts of the coming darkness as the days grow shorter.
14 14 of 16:Go to a local solstice celebration.
- Each region of the world celebrates midsummer differently. Run a quick online search to see if there are any summer solstice festivals, parades, or other gatherings in your area. You'll find that many cultures around the world observe the summer solstice, from the Swedish Midsummer festival with its magic and maypoles to Alaska's Midnight Sun Festival and Mexico's famous Chichén Itzá celebration.XResearch source
- If you can't attend a local celebration, you can view a livestream of the summer solstice from Stonehenge, in the UK—a site many experts believe was designed to showcase each solstice.
15 15 of 16:Reflect and renew your yearly goals.
- Reaffirm each goal and set new intentions to achieve them. The summer solstice heralds the beginning of summer, representing the time of fulfillment. This is a great time to take stock of your life and assess how your goals are progressing. From earlier New Year's resolutions to the big goals in your life, ask yourself how you're doing in achieving these things for yourself.XResearch source
- Are you still aligned with your goals or have you strayed from them? Take this opportunity to reinvigorate them and make any necessary changes to achieve your aims in life.
- Be honest with your self-evaluation. Set aside goals that aren't taking you in the direction you want to go now. We all grow and change over time, and you don't need to hang onto goals that no longer fit the person you've become.
16 16 of 16:Make a positive change in your life.
- Summer is the ideal time to refresh your spirit with a new goal. Think of the summer solstice as a new beginning, and let the promise of warmer days ahead inspire you to develop yourself, set yourself free, and nurture yourself. Make a list of all the things you dream of doing, select a few to focus on and commit to enacting those meaningful changes in the coming days.
- Refresh your home by creating a new layout. Rearrange the furniture and add new accents, like pillows, art, lamps, etc. Get rid of clutter, but keep things that bring you joy.
- Readjust your nutrition intake using summer's fresh fruits and vegetables as your base. Resolve to eat healthier, with more greens, locally grown foods, and organic foods in your diet.
- Find an exercise that you really click. Choose something that you enjoy doing rather than something you suffer through. Think about yoga, swimming, running, or riding a bicycle.
- QuestionHow do I know when it's summer without looking on the internet?Community AnswerMost calendars say "First Day of Summer" below the date. This is synonymous with the summer solstice.
- QuestionWhat do I wear at the solstice party?Community AnswerDress however you want to.
- QuestionDo we have to do all of them on this day?Community AnswerOf course not! Pick a few things you think you would enjoy the most. Maybe try one thing from each method to give yourself a balance of activities.
- QuestionIf the solstice is at 5:24 a.m. on Wednesday 21st, when should I hold a solstice party -- on Tuesday the 20th or Wednesday the 21st?Community AnswerThat's entirely up to you, as either day would be fine. If the solstice technically falls on Wednesday, you may want to host your event Wednesday, at it will be the longest day of the year.
About This Article
If you want to celebrate the summer solstice with a party, consider inviting your friends over for a bonfire to celebrate light. While everyone’s there, you can have a feast of sun-colored foods like papayas and pumpkins that you gathered from local farms or markets. However, if you can’t throw a party, you can always start a garden or just commit to taking better care of yourself this summer. Keep reading to learn how to make a flower sun tea to make you celebration a little more unique!