The summer solstice, which falls this year on June 20th, marks the beginning of the summer season. This day is also the longest of the year, giving us around 15 hours of daylight. With the return of the long days of summer, we get an opportunity to release old, stagnant energy and welcome in the new season’s warmth and abundance. Below are some ways examples of how people past and present have celebrated this day, and ways that you can start your own summer solstice traditions.
Make the most of the longest day of the year by basking in the sun and warm air! This is a great day to visit a nearby farm for a tour. If you’re lucky, you might see baby animals – the summer solstice marks birthing season on most farms. You can also support local farms by visiting farmers markets. This is a great way to get local produce, meats, breads, and cheeses. Having a backyard BBQ or picnic dinner of locally harvested foods is a beautiful way to end the solstice.
Many cultures spend this day giving thanks to the bounty of nature. Farming communities, like many of the indigenous tribes of this country, will spend the day tending their crops, often working from sunrise and continuing under the full strawberry moon. Honor their efforts by planting something yourself! You don’t have to start your own farm, but you can start a windowsill herb garden, pull weeds at your local community garden, or plant flowers in your backyard.
You might take a page from Northern European countries and make a midsummer flower crown. Before becoming a fashion statement at music festivals, these crowns represented the earth’s fertility and were worn to celebrate a bountiful summer’s harvest. You can use fresh or fake flowers and find tutorials online.
Give Thanks to the Sun
Other communities spend this day in appreciation of the sun’s energy. Some yogic traditions call for doing 108 sun salutations at sunrise on the day of the solstice. You might not want to wake up that early, but this tradition can be adapted to meet anyone’s lifestyle. The important thing is not when you do sun salutations, but that you fill your mind with gratitude as you go through the poses.
The Start of Summer
However you choose to celebrate the Summer Solstice this year, it’s a day for appreciating the natural abundance we all enjoy – from fresh air and sunshine to the food we eat. A day spent in gratitude is one well spent!
Do you have any start-of-summer traditions or rituals? Share them with us in the comments below!