The summer solstice, the longest day of the year and the official start of summer, is particularly meaningful this year as we emerge from the pandemic. It falls on June 20, Father’s Day. Think of it: here is the day when we have the most light available to us as the path of the sun reaches its highest point in the Northern Hemisphere. Sometimes the summer solstice is called “midsummer,” reminding us that gardens and farms have been planted—and that life and growth and the possibility of bounty are again realized in nature’s cycles.
Summer solstice traditions of celebration date back centuries and are found in many cultures, but central themes include:
- the radiance of fire, light, and sun;
- the growth of plants, especially flowers, herbs, and gardens; and
- life in its fullness marked by events like festivals, parties, and play.
Is this a good year to start a summer solstice tradition and celebrate the joy and symbolism of sunlight? Here are some ideas that might start a meaningful, even if simple, tradition.
- Plant an herb for yourself or as a gift. Herbs traditionally associated with summer solstice are St John’s Wort, chamomile, lavender, fennel, rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, and American elder.
- Invite family, especially those who are fathers this year, to sit around a fireplace, bonfire, or campfire, and tell stories and sing songs.
- Cut flowers to create a bouquet or flower garland, either for yourself or as a gift.
- Host a tea, using herbal teas like mint and chamomile associated with summer—and add a special cake topped with flowers.
- Express gratitude for the light of the sun and its life-giving properties, perhaps by writing in a journal, contacting a friend, singing a song, or saying a prayer.
- Read a poem to yourself or a friend like “Summer Stars” by Carl Sandburg. Here’s a link sponsored by the Academy of American Poets to get you started: https://poets.org/poems-summer-solstice.
With ALICEhelps, you can share simple celebrations with those you love and care for even when you’re not present with them. These small steps aimed at building human connection often promote happiness and reduce stress.