The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, where (depending where in the world you are) we are able to enjoy around 17 hours of daylight and hopefully, vitamin D packed sunshine.
A day of celebration for many the world over, the Summer Solstice marks the time when the sun’s path changes and our days begin to shorten. The word Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) – before reversing direction, Astrologers say the sun appears to “stand still” at the position on the horizon where it seems to rise and set.
The Summer Solstice fell between the planting and harvesting of crops, allowing people who farmed or worked on the land time to relax and revitalise ready for the hard work of harvest and the winter beyond. Due to this rest period and increased free time, June is the traditional month for weddings.
Celebrations surrounding the Solstice have many different themes; religion, fertility and successful harvests being among them. Pagans hold religious rituals on the Solstice with a wide variety of customs. Dancing, singing, prayer and drum playing are amongst the most popular along with the burning of a Yule wreath in a bonfire. Celebration of the Solstice as part of religious practice, is a time for people to attune themselves spiritually with the natural world and all that comes with both the seasons of nature and humanity. Growth, birth, death and life are the rhythms we live with and the ritual of celebration inspires a conscious effort to allow this to resonate more thoroughly.
Linked to the religious rituals is the desire to strengthen the sense of being part of nature and interconnected spiritually with others and the world as a whole. Many feel this is a key reason to participate in the festivities, often referred to as “the turning of the wheel of the year”.
Outside of religion, countless towns and villages host Midsummer festivities, typically held outside where nature can be fully appreciated; flowers and trees are usually used as part of the decoration. People take part in the event to remind themselves of how precious time is and the changing of the season is another marker of time marching on. The celebration is also to encourage community spirit, friendship and an appreciation for our own homes and natural surroundings.
Summer Solstice is celebrated all over the world by many ethnicities and cultures. In Scandinavian countries, bonfires are lit, usually near lakes and by the sea and traditionally, unmarried women create a garland of flowers for their bed to dream of their future husband. A tradition that is still maintained today and is indicative of the fertility perspective of the Summer Solstice and how the natural world is interlinked with our own fertility and encouragement of new life. In China, the Summer Solstice is closely connected with “yin” and “yang” and celebrates the Earth’s “yin” femininity, the opposite being the Winter Solstice and “yang” masculinity.
Stonehenge, Wiltshire is amongst the most famous of locations to celebrate Midsummer and welcome the breaking dawn. Stonehenge aligns to the Solstice, allowing the rising sun to reach the middle of the stones and shine on the central altar only on the Summer Solstice. A prehistoric site long linked to spirituality, peace and nature, Stonehenge plays host each year to around 20,000 people who celebrate in the longest day with quiet meditation or exuberant revelries and dancing.
How will you be celebrating the Summer Solstice? Our Niroshini Tip is if you haven’t got any celebration to attend, make sure you connect with nature, even if it’s for 10 minutes. Kick off your shoes and walk on the grass or beach. It’s so important to connect with what is part of us; by doing this, it allows us to become grounded, aligned and stronger on an emotional, mental, spiritual and physical level.
We wish you love and peace.