The Summer Solstice is on June 21st, and there are many ways to celebrate the changing of the seasons and the longest day of the year!
Saturday 21st June is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and the official point of midsummer. A solstice is the point when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, and appears to stand still; the word solstice literally means ‘sun stands still’. After this point, the sun will begin to move back south again, and the days will slowly begin to get shorter, in the lead up to winter.
The Summer Solstice is a major celestial event which has been celebrated for hundreds of years, starting with the ancient Pagans. Over the years, the event has been embraced by many different cultures and civilisations, and is celebrated in countless different ways all over the world.
The Ancient Pagans celebrated the day the Goddess of the Earth married the God of the Sky, which brought forth the tradition that June is a lucky month in which to marry. Pagans also believed that at midsummer, the strength of psychic and magical energy is at its highest, and so it was the prime time to practice. At modern midsummer celebrations, it is common to see people wearing garlands of flowers and herbs. They are also burned in bonfires, as it is believed that the powerful aromas they produce are good for healing and protection.
The Chinese celebrate another Goddess on this day; they honour Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light. Unsurprisingly, the Sun and its light is the focus of the celebrations all over the world. Every year, people flood to Stonehenge in the thousands to celebrate. Stonehenge was constructed so that the sun would light up each stone at different points in its journey through the sky each day. It is tradition for celebrations at the ancient monument to start the day before the Solstice, with worshippers greeting the sunrise, and then spending the longest day of the year mingling and joining in the many goings on. One of the most popular traditions are the ‘handfasting’ ceremonies, the term for Pagan weddings. Hundreds of couples choose to married on this sacred day, and vow that they shall ‘stay together for a year and a day, eternity and beyond, or for however long love will last’.
There are many ways to celebrate midsummer. No matter what religion you believe in, or if you’re not religious or spiritual at all, it is a time to celebrate the Sun and its light, and the changing of the seasons. Here are some simple ways to celebrate:
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