Summer Solstice

December 21 is Summer Solstice here in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Northern Hemisphere it falls on 21 June.

The Summer Solstice is when the sun travels the longest path through the sky becoming the longest day of the year. According to astronomical alignments the solstice marks the beginning of Summer and will last until the Autumn Equinox which falls on the 20th or 21st of March in the Southern Hemisphere and 22nd or 23rd of September in the Northern Hemisphere. 

The day is a day of celebration in many cultures around the world and throughout history. The celebration also goes by a few different  names, Midsummer in Scandinavian and Litha in the Wicca traditions, and St John's Day in Christian traditions.

How the Ancients celebrated

Some historians believe the solstice has been celebrated since the Stone Ages, and has been celebrated with bonfires, feasts, picnics and songs.

In Ancient Egypt the Summer Solstice corresponded with the rising of the Nile and its annual flooding.  

 The Ancient Greek calendar marked the Summer Solstice as the beginning of the year, marking the one month count down to the Summer Olympics, with the festival of Kronia, celebrating the God of Agriculture was held around this time of year. 

Ancient Rome would celebrate with the festival of Vestalia in honour of the Goddess Vesta, the goddess of the Hearth.

In Ancient China the festival was associated with 'yin' or feminine energies and festivals oriented themselves around the Earth element and the feminine energies.

The Celts, Slavic and Germanic tribes celebrating with bonfires, believing the light from the bonfires would boost the sun's energy for the rest of the growing season and bless them with a good harvest.

This was the time of year the Vikings would gather to discuss legal matters and resolve disputes.

In some Native American traditions the solstice is celebrated through dancing around a tree wearing ceremonial colours.

Modern Day Celebrations

The Summer Solstice is all about celebrating the power of the sun. Its the time of year when the harvest are starting to ripen and we spend our time outdoors. We we starting seeing the seeds we planted earlier on in the year take root and start to grow.

Offerings are bestowed upon the Gods and Goddesses of the Sun.  Apollo and Hestia in Ancient Greek tradition, Aten or Horus in Ancient Egyptian,  Lugh from Celtic or Huitzilopochtli from the Aztec traditions.

This is the time of year when people traditionally celebrate fertility, renewal, inner and outer abundance. Its a time of year to reflect on your personal growth  and the meaning of the season of the light and growth.  It is a time of love and expansion.

The Earth is at her fullness in strength, fertility and abundance so it is the perfect time to join with her engaging in our connection with her and celebrate our collective strength and abundance.

Fire is used as a symbol to ward off the darkness and bring luck. 

Here are some easy celebrations you can do to celebrate the Summer Solstice

 1. Gather your friends and have a picnic

Exchange songs, stories and poems, dance, drum, sing and celebrate.

2. Bathe in the light of the Sun.

Go to the beach, park, or your own backyard and bathe in the light for 20-30 minutes, don't forget your sunscreen so you don't burn.

3. Make a Solstice Suncatcher 

Similar to a dream catcher, the sun catcher helps to capture the light of the sun and sends rainbows of light around your home.

4. Do some gardening and gather your herbs.

The Ancients would gather their healing herbs at Solstice believing herbs collected at this time where the most potent.

5.Have a bonfire party

So long as the conditions are safe gather your family and friends and build a bonfire and dance around the flames inviting the light into your life.

Happy Solstice Everyone!