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Celebrating The Solstice

Celebrating The Solstice

Each year people all over the northern hemisphere celebrate the summer solstice in late June.  Not only is it the longest day of the year, but it is also the official start of summer. One of the largest celebrations of the solstice takes place at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. However, if you can’t make it there for the celebration, there are many ways to observe the special day no matter where you live.

The summer solstice is the point when the northern hemisphere is furthest from the sun, and the exact moment occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5° north latitude. In the time leading up to the solstice, the days grow increasingly longer, and the solstice is the culmination of that change. It is the longest day of the year, with the hours of daylight increasing the closer you get to the North Pole.

Celebrate Outside

Many key ways of celebrating the longest day involve getting outside to enjoy the hours of sunshine. Whether you plan a trip to your favorite park or spend the day in your yard, most summer solstice celebrations take place in the outdoors. Make it special by planting a solstice garden or meditating outdoors while sunbathing.

Host an Event

Traditionally, bonfires are commonly associated with solstice celebrations. This practice has its ancient roots in pagan traditions but remains popular today. A bonfire is not only festive, but it is a symbol of the light of the sun that gives everyone life here on Earth. If weather conditions prevent you from lighting a bonfire, try celebrating with a picnic.

Set the Scene

Decorate your surroundings with items that capture the bright spirit of the season. Use any items that inspire you or invoke the power of light. Color schemes with yellows and oranges are especially powerful at this time. Be sure to add fresh floral arrangements as summer flowers can’t bloom without the light of the sun!

Spiritual Practices

Not only is the summer solstice a time of celebration, but it is also an excellent time to capture the energy of the sun to power your life. By placing meaningful tokens in the sun for the solstice, you can make a powerful charm to carry with you throughout the year. Additionally, you can let sun tea or other herbs steep in the solstice sun for a potion that will give you a boost when you need it most. While you may not want to set up an altar of light, be sure to set aside time during the solstice for personal meditation. This day is powerful time to set intentions and make goals while releasing fear and negative patterns.

Explore the World

If you have the itch to travel, the summer solstice is a great time to experience other cultures, especially locations above the Arctic Circle. Many Northern locales experience close to 24 hours of daylight on this date and feature festive community celebrations. Many Scandinavian countries also have elaborate festivals filled with flowers, dancing, and songs. Even if you can’t make it north to experience 24 hours of daylight, there might be a surprising solstice celebration closer to home.

Whether you choose to celebrate with elaborate rituals or simple observations, the longest day of the year (in the Northern hemisphere) is a beautiful time to pause and enjoy the life-giving power of the sun.

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