How to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Words by Keagan Perlette

Photo by Pradeep Behara.

The summer solstice, also known as midsummer or litha, is typically observed between June 21 and 24. It is a celebration of the longest day of the year and heralds the beginning of a season of growth.

This is a great time to gather your friends around a bonfire or share a delicious meal together. The nature of midsummer celebrations varies across pagan traditions, but historically, it’s a time of frivolity after the long darkness of winter and the growth of spring—and before the hard work of the harvest begins. The summer solstice gives us the opportunity to simply enjoy life and prioritize having fun. Here are a few enchanting rituals you can incorporate into your celebrations.

Make time to play

While the winter solstice gives us the space to get in touch with what’s going on inside of ourselves, the summer solstice invites us to take action on what we’ve learned from that introspection. Reflective habits like journaling can help us hone in on what we enjoy, how to care for ourselves, and what makes us feel great. Once you have that insight, you can put it into practice.

During midsummer, let your inner child out to play. Nourish yourself with activities that make you feel a sense of excitement and wonder. Having fun helps us build a more meaningful life; one helpful definition of “fun” is an experience of liberating engagement, which means doing activities that are absorbing and that temporarily free you from the responsibilities of your day to day. Make time to do things simply because they make you happy—go out for ice cream, put your toes in the nearest body of water, play with your pet. Set aside a whole day or two just to do exactly what you want.

Worship the sun

The sun symbolizes clarity and illumination, so let it open your eyes to the beauty of the world. Spend time in nature and pay attention to the effect that the sun has on the earth. Even after a long, cold winter, the plants trust that the sun will return and open their leaves and buds to the warmth and light. This reminds us to have faith that ease will follow difficulty. The cycles of nature are ever-changing. We can be sure that nothing lasts forever; everything is constantly in motion. Paying attention to the movements of the sun and seasons helps us surrender to the ebb and flow of life, giving us more space to experience without fear.

Traditionally, midsummer also marks the coming of winter’s darkness. From here, the days slowly get shorter. Firelight is a fantastic symbol to incorporate into summer solstice celebrations; it’s sunlight we can carry with us into the darkest of seasons. Have a campfire, or even simply set the table with white candles. Write down your wishes for the rest of the year on slips of paper and burn them as an offering to the sun. If you can’t light a fire where you are, diffuse Cedarwood Essential Oil.

Throw a party

In parts of the world where the sun doesn’t go down on midsummer’s eve, people party all night long. Celebrating with your community is one of the best ways to honor the summer solstice; in Ukrainian tradition, partygoers make wreaths of foliage, flowers, and grass, floating them down a river for their lovers to swim after and catch. You can head to your local meadow to pick wildflowers and weave your own midsummer crown. To capture the same mood at home, diffuse Wild Posy or Grassland.

Feasting is another common midsummer ritual across many cultures in places like Sweden and Estonia. Some of the foods you might want to serve include mead, fruit salad, and fresh sourdough bread with homemade butter. Having a potluck is a wonderful way to bring everyone together with the intention of celebrating your shared abundance.

Midsummer is the perfect time to reach your energy outward, connect with others, and focus on ease and enjoyment. Make sure that you spend this summer solstice packing in as much laughter, playfulness, and conviviality as you can.