Why We Should Be Celebrating The Summer Solstice This Year

I have found that the space we’re in right now- the coming out on the other side of a global pandemic space- is ripe for all kinds of celebrations. The birthdays we’ve missed, the milestones, the holidays- even the things we may have never given a thought to in the, “before” seem completely worthy of celebration now.

Enter, summer solstice.

First of all, let’s all take a moment and celebrate the fact that we and our children made it through this insane year of hybrid/homeschool/in-person but distanced learning. We are ALL ready for summer. My kids have been counting down the days since Christmas, in fact. Who knew that hours and hours with our butts in seats staring at screens would make us all so TIRED? We are so hungry for warm night air, sand and grass between our toes and the smells of a campfire. Our bodies and our brains are crying out for some nature therapy and there is no better way to mark this new season than by celebrating an age old tradition of ringing in the summer season.

The Summer Solstice (or, the first official day of summer) marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere on June 21st (December 22 in the southern hemisphere). It’s rituals vary from country to country, but the general tenor is the same: it’s one of gratitude, reflection and meditation with a focus on the natural world.

Sounds like we all need a little of that, doesn’t it?

We decided we were going to celebrate every single thing this year in attempt to reclaim a bit of the joy we sorely missed the previous year and summer solstice is absolutely on our list of required celebrations. We mapped out a schedule, planned a meal and discussed one or two activities to mark the occasion. Bear in mind, however, there’s no need to go bananas with event planning if you’d also like to partake in summer solstice activities! Summer Solstice is about getting back to basics, back to nature and back to ourselves which means minimal planning is required. In fact, I’ve already done all of the legwork for you- feel free to follow our plan for a stress-free summer solstice celebration.

Giving Back To Nature

Part of a summer solstice celebration is giving back to nature as a way of welcoming back the warm weather in gratitude. We decided the best way to do that was to plant a small garden my daughters could tend on their own throughout the next few months. As they harvest, water and tend to the soil over the next few months we’ll also be composting the scraps as a way of remembering that what comes from the earth can return if we provide our service and thoughtful care. If you find yourself living in a space that’s not conducive for planting outside, a simple indoor herb garden or flower pots are a great activity for little ones and grown ups.

The Meal

I’m not sure how you feel, but it’s not a celebration to us unless there’s food and friends involved; preferably in our backyard around our table. Since the summer solstice is a celebration of the natural world we decided to try to focus on a purely plant-based menu. That may sound intimidating at first, especially which little ones, but it can be as simple as a crudité platter full of veggies and hummus, chips and salsa and/or guacamole and a fruit salad. The iconic summer solstice vibe is candlelit, so feel free to line your table with some candles to provide the ambiance required for a peaceful meal.

A Gratitude Bonfire

Ending a summertime meal around the firepit tends to be our tradition on any old night, but it’s a requirement on summer solstice. Traditionally, there would be a bonfire to close out the ritual but any size firepit will do. We’re planning on discussing as a family all of the ways we showed strength and resilience this past year, how grateful we are to each other and to the earth for carrying us and dream of all of the things we’re looking forward to accomplishing together in the summer months.

There is so much to celebrate in this season- summer solstice is a worthy celebration to add to your list.