How to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

The summer solstice has been celebrated for centuries, with all sorts of traditions growing up around it. In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice is usually celebrated on the 21st of June, while in the southern hemisphere, it's usually celebrated on the 21st of December.


  1. Image titled Enjoy a Sunrise Step 5
    Do some sky observation. From an astronomical point of view, the summer solstice occurs sometime between June 20 and June 21 (sometimes June 22) in the Northern Hemisphere, and December 21 and December 22 (sometimes December 23) in the Southern Hemisphere. Most years it is on the 21st but due to the leap year in the Gregorian calendar, there is a change every few years to the date, to account for the leap years. If you'd like to witness the actual moment of the summer solstice in the sky, read How to witness the summer solstice and be sure to take all precautions to prevent eye damage.
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    Seek fulfillment from your life. The summer solstice heralds the beginning of summer. This also represents the time of fulfillment. This is an excellent time to take stock of your life and assess how your goals and aims are going. From the year's earlier New Year's resolutions to the big goals in your life, ask yourself how you're doing in achieving these things for yourself and others you care about.
    • Are you still aligned with your goals or have you strayed from them? Take this opportunity to reinvigorate them and to make any necessary changes to achieve your aims in life.
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    Sit outside and read a book. This is a good way to get connected with the sun and nature.
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    Start looking for a new job on this day if your current one is not fulfilling to you. Start looking around to see what is available that you would be keen to try. If you need more experience, training or information, make today the day you begin overcoming such obstacles so that you can start doing what you really want to do.
    • Consider starting a gratitude journal if you haven't already done so. Try to recognize all the good and wonderful things in your life, to help you better notice fulfillment when you feel it.
    • Be honest with your goal appraisal––set aside those goals that aren't taking you in the direction you want to go now. We all grow and change over time; make sure you're not hanging onto goals that no longer fit the person you have become.
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    Consolidate your energies. The stability of summer and the promise of balmy, warmer days ahead is considered to be a time to develop yourself, to set yourself free and to nurture yourself. As the crops begin ripening, this is a time for self-maturation and for consolidating your energies. Take the easier nature of summer as a reason to make greater efforts to lose weight, to refresh your home (perhaps a new layout, maybe even a new home), to readjust your nutrition intake and to find an exercise that you really click with rather than doing one everyone else is doing.
    • Start a new diet today using the fresh fruits and vegetables of summer as your base. Don't just see it as a "diet" though; use this opportunity to align your thinking about food to one that involves eating more greens, more locally grown foods, more organic foods and less processed foods.
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    Renew your wardrobe. If you haven't updated your look in a while and your clothes are beginning to show signs of age, take a fresh look at your wardrobe on the summer solstice. Are those clothes still representative of who you are now? Are those clothes showing you to your best advantage or are they letting you down through ill fit, out-of-date style or simply poor choices? Send the unwanted clothing items to the charity store, a friend or to the rag bag, depending on their quality. Then add some new items that make you feel great and that help you to stay feeling confident about the look you're presenting to others.
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    Consider flexing your healing muscles. Herbs and flowers picked during the summer solstice were believed by people in medieval times to carry healing energy above and beyond any normal healing properties. While we'd nowadays consider this to be scientifically doubtful, you can still honor the sentiment by growing your own herbal medicine garden during summer and learning more about using plants to heal minor injuries and illnesses, such as scratches and headaches. There are many good books about using plants for medicinal purposes, such as National Geographic's Guide to Medicinal Herbs (2012), which details what does––and what does not–– really have healing properties.
    • While growing your herbs and veggie garden, remember to thank the pollinators. Summer is a time of high pollination because so many trees and plants are flowering. And yet, in recent years many bees have suffered from disease, in particular colony collapse disorder, threatening the future of pollination by bees. Find out all you can about what is being done to protect bees and give bee keepers who practice natural, organic and chemical-free beekeeping your support. Also think of all the other pollinators, including the much despised mosquito, all doing their part to ensure delicious food reaches your table.
    • Other ways to flex your healing muscles include deciding to learn more about a healing technique that has interested you for a while, such as reiki, therapeutic massage or acupuncture. Why not go along to a session to try a new healing therapy for something that ails you, be it stress through to pain? Alternatively, if you would like become a practitioner in healing arts, look for courses that you can take.
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    Dance around a maypole. If you're lucky enough to live where the local community has organized a maypole, give it a go! More information on how to do the dance properly can be found in How to do a maypole dance.
    • Make your own maypole if there isn't one in your town. Invite friends over and hold a maypole dance at the same time as a party. To help you out, ask everyone to bring some food to contribute to an outdoor buffet.
    • In Sweden, maypole dancing is considered an essential part of their summer solstice holiday.
  9. Image titled Attend Summer Solstice at Stonehenge Step 2
    Plan some travel. Consider spending summer solstice away from home, at one of the key destinations where the summer solstice has been celebrated for centuries. In particular, Britain's Stonehenge is a must for the avid observer of the summer solstice. Stonehenge aligns with the sunrise on the solstice, making for spectacular viewing. However, you need to be there very early in the morning well rugged up because thousands of others will also be attending to celebrate the day as the sun rises. Two other places where people like to celebrate the summer solstice are Sedona in Arizona and Cairo (where an ancient sun temple was discovered in 2006).
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    Throw a party with a bonfire. A bonfire is part of the tradition of the summer solstice. Fire has always been a source of protection for human beings, scaring off the beings of the night, both real and magical. Nowadays you can reinvent the bonfire as a great reason to hold a summer solstice party with friends. Just be sure to choose a location where it is both safe and permitted to burn a bonfire––check with the local authority first. In some places there will a fire ban due to the dry conditions, so make plans to have a party without the bonfire if this happens.
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    Honor the sun. If you enjoy doing yoga, there is a set of exercises known as the Sun Salutation or Salute to the Sun which you can perform. These exercises are intended to exercise both your body and your soul, balancing both in harmony through both meditation and physical movement in one. Begin this exercise on the morning of the summer solstice and aim to make it a daily habit from this time on.


  • If your faith celebrates the summer solstice in a particular way, learn more about what is involved and participate. For some faiths, this is an especially important time of celebrations.
  • Go on a naked run. Get the permission of your local authority to hold a naked fun run through the town. In Riga, Latvia, this has become a recent ritual of great popularity for the summer solstice celebrations. If this is your idea of fun, go for it.

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