Every year there is one day when the Northern Hemisphere receives more daylight than any other day, and this day is known as the Summer Solstice. This year, Summer Solstice falls on Sunday, June 20th. While sunrise and sunset times will differ from place to place in Fairbanks Alaska the sun will set at 12:47 a.m., and rises at 2:59 a.m. No, you didn’t read that wrong, places in the upper latitudes may only get a few hours of twilight on solstice.
For centuries, many cultures have celebrated the solstice as the start of summer. Ancient Greeks marked the solstice as the start of the year on their calendars, and the ancient Egyptians used the solstice to determine when to plant crops. Many cultures perform rituals to bring forth a bountiful harvest in fall, or to celebrate gods or heroes.
Even if you don’t have a harvest to plan for, Summer Solstice can be a fun time for families to welcome summer and enjoy the longest day of sunlight of the year.
How to celebrate solstice:
1. Plan an outdoor activity
Go to the beach, take a hike, or plan a picnic. Being outside in the sun is the easiest way to celebrate the Summer Solstice, but be sure to pack your sunscreen! As ultraviolet experts, we know the power the sun’s rays have to kill microorganisms like viruses and bacteria. The UV-C light used in Connect-UV’s products is filtered out by the atmosphere. However, the UV-A and UV-B rays that do make it through can skill harm the skin and eyes with prolonged exposure.
2. Watch the annual Stonehenge livestream
Stonehenge was really a large calendar. The Druids would be able to mark the passing of the seasons based on the alignment of the sun with the stones. The structure was designed particularly for the solstice, with the sun rising just to the side of the headstone on the year’s longest day.
While going to England to watch the solstice is likely not an option for you this year, thankfully the event is live streamed! With the time change, the sunrise ceremony aligns with the evening of Monday the 21st in the United States.
3. Attend a local celebration
Many towns, cities, etc will celebrate the solstice with a community celebration. Check your local news or your municipality’s website for information on events near you. If you live in an area settled by Northern Europeans, there may be a cultural organization that puts on solstice events as well.
A fun (and free) craft is to make a flower crown. These crowns are made by weaving the stems of flowers together. It’s a fun activity for the whole family, kids can collect the flowers and get help from parents to make the crown. View a tutorial.
5. Attend a bonfire
Bonfires are a traditional way to celebrate the solstice. Those close to a bonfire-friendly beach or park are in luck, but bonfires can also been made in backyards, with proper safety precautions of course. Roasting marshmallows in the late twilight is a great way to end solstice celebrations.
6. Do some gardening
With the agricultural roots of many solstice celebrations, why not get your hands a little dirty in the garden? Sunflowers are the perfect plant to add to your garden on the solstice, these hardy blooms do well in strong sun, and with their sun-like flowers, what better way to celebrate Solstice than with these sunloving plants?
7. Make suncatchers
When it is too hot to go outside and you have littles to keep entertained, a suncatcher is a fun craft that will provide beautiful light-capturing results long after the solstice ends. Suncatchers are transparent items that hang in windows to cast light, shadow, and patterns on surfaces. They can be made from beads, dried flowers, tissue paper, and more, making them a flexible craft that can be adjusted to what you have on hand. View 13 great DIY suncatcher designs here.
8. Create a fairy garden
Another good hot day craft, fairy gardens are whimsical buildings covered in plants, moss, wood, and other natural items to give your garden fairies a home. These are fun to make with kids and celebrate the magic of solstice in a creative way. Go here for design ideas.
9. Sun salutation yoga
For the early risers, a simple sun salutation routine can be the best way to welcome the longest day. This vinyasa is a wonderful full-body stretch that energizes the body and, as the name suggests, pays tribute to the sun. So roll out your mat and get ready to welcome the solstice. Follow along with this 7-minute sun salutation flow.
10. Have a solstice feast
What is any celebration without an incredible feast? Nordic countries have long had impressive solstice feasts that can be borrowed upon to make an impressive event for friends or family to enjoy. For a successful solstice feast, eat outside and decorate with flowers and leaves, and add seasonable fruits and vegetables, like strawberries and cherries, to get the most out of your feast.