Litha, the Summer Solstice, is the point of the year where the day is longest and the sun shines at maximum strength, the longest day and the shortest night, it is the first day of summer on the calendar, officially.
Summer Solstice Letting Go
When the wheel turns to Summer Solstice and we spend as much time as we can in the sun, it is a reminder that nothing lasts forever. When I apply this to my children, it makes me pause in gratitude and wonderment, just a little bit more. They have this summer, at these ages, only once, I am going to breathe it in and treasure it and hold it close, knowing that next year, when they are another year older, a little bit more independent, I’ve let go just a little bit more, the Summer Solstice is a reminder that motherhood is one continuous cycle of holding on and letting go.
Abundance is Everywhere
Summer brings with it the eruption of plantings that were made back in the spring, local fresh fruit and vegetables are starting to be plentiful, the flowers are blooming and the grounds we walk, the streets we wander around in our neighbourhood, seem more alive with the sounds of laughter of conversation and vitality.
Summer Solstice is a day to celebrate the abundance of nourishing foods and the bonds of friendships.
National Indigenous Peoples Day
The Summer Solstice often falls on June 21st and in Canada, June 21st, is National Indigenous Peoples Day, “an official day of celebration to recognize and honour the heritage, cultures and valuable contributions to society by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples” [source]
And while community gatherings and PowWows that honour this day may not be possible this year, here is an article on ways to virtually celebrate: https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/11-ways-to-virtually-celebrate-national-indigenous-peoples-day
Celebrating Union and Family
The Summer Solstice has been called, “the marriage of day and night” and it is a traditional time to hold celebrations of unions and handfasting. Beekeeper friends tell me that around this week in June, is the traditional time to start harvesting honey and raise queens. The word “honeymoon” can trace its origins to the European tradition of giving the newly married couple enough mead to last for the first month. This Mental Floss write-up has more on the etymology of “honeymoon”: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/54075/where-does-term-honeymoon-come
For us, our anniversary is near the Summer Solstice and we celebrate it each year by lighting candles from our handfasting and cake. This reminds us of the awesome cake we had on our handfasting day and also, we like cake and it’s a fun way to include the kids on our anniversary.
I was first introduced to The Pooka Pages for Pagan Kids during the Summer Solstice one year, and I look forward to reading this year’s Litha edition.
Here are some other ways we celebrate Litha with the kids.
Three Ways We Celebrate The Summer Solstice With KIds
1. Read Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Summer Solstice is also associated with tales of the fae and we love plays in this family. On the Summer Solstice, we read A Midsummer Night’s Dream (the kid version) and we have taken the kids to outdoor performances in past years. We also read other fairy stories and talk about the myths of fairies. One story that we have added to our collection recently is Fairy Science by Ashley Spires and I’ve incorporated it as a good jumping-off point of talking about science and the world before the science we have now and how beliefs and science can co-mingle; big topics there but books like this one is good for planting the start of those conversations.
2. Sundials and Following the Sun
We talk about time and how to measure it, what it means and how there are many different ways of telling time. At the Summer Solstice, we find our way to a sundial and observe what time it is and how it works. We enjoyed this video on following the sun by Crash Course Kids
3. Fête de la Musique
June 21st, is also Fête de la Musique Day, which is a day that encourages people to play music. What’s a feast day without music? I have used this day to show my kids new to-them-instruments and musicians and we have even had the opportunity to try out musical instruments. Check out the Make Music Day website for ways to participate: http://www.makemusicday.org/
And of course, we talk about those ancient Druids and Stonehenge. This year, the Glastonbury Information Centre is hosting a virtual Summer Solstice at Glastonbury and Stonehenge is also streaming sunrise and sunset this year.
Happy Summer Solstice!
If you acknowledge the Summer Solstice or if it just marks the calendar as the start of summer, I hope you enjoy the warmth of these sunny days and I wish you much abundance!