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12 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of Summer




The Summer Solstice or Midsummer’s Day is June 21. It is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It is where we enjoy the most sunlight and least amount of moonlight. Many cultures and religions have worshipped the sun as the source of life. Even in the bible Psalm 19—the psalm that tells us that “the heavens declare the glory of God”—calls attention to the sun’s orbit as it traces a path across the sky and “nothing is deprived of its warmth” (v. 6).


Though in different cultures, people historically celebrated this day with bonfires. In Germany, men would leap over the flames and run across the embers when the fire was out. As they would jump or run over the burning coals, people would make wishes for the months ahead. People in Japan and Britain celebrate by staying away until midnight. Native Americans like the Sioux Tribe would throw elaborate ceremonies that lasted from four to eight days. There would be singing, dancing, drumming, fasting, prayer, and visions. In Denmark, women would gather herbs including St. John’s Wort to chase away the winter blues. In many countries like Italy, Norway, Sweden, and Finland host celebrations two days after on St. John’s Eve (June 24). Still today, Finland has folk dances, light bonfires, and have rowing races.


So how can you create, start, or participate in some summer traditions this year?!


1.        Change spring decorations into summer ones with flowers, seashells, putting up summer trip photos, or what symbolizes summer in your family.


2.        Pick flowers or buy them and place them around the house. You can make a flower crown or natural wreath from them too.


3.        Collect books about summer, all the seasons, check out NY Time’s bestseller for book to in the summer, or gardening books.


4.        Find a special place outside to watch the sunrise, sunset, or both! You can find those times here: https://www.sunrisesunset.com/USA/.


5.        Eat a meal outside.


6.        Go on a nature hike to look for birds, butterflies, mushrooms, wildflowers, and spend time soaking up the sun. (Remember to wear sunscreen!)


7.        Gather traditional plants like St. John’s Wort and make a tea or aromatherapy spray from them. Find more information on St. John’s Wort here: https://www.hobbyfarms.com/the-best-time-to-harvest-st-johns-wort/.


8.        Visit a farm that has lots of activities. You can find farms that are open to the public here: https://iowaroadtrip.net/best-you-pick-flower-farms-in-iowa/.


9.        Make a summer feast. You can eat from a garden, the Farmer’s Market, or make yummy summer recipes like cucumber salad, smoked ribs, veggie burgers, shrimp lettuce wrap, or build your own skewer for the grill.


10.   Turn off indoor lights and use natural light, candles, and open the windows.


11.   Play outside, watercolor or paint, decorate the sidewalk/driveway with chalk, turn on a sprinkler, or get in the pool. If you don’t want to play, do something like meditate yoga, or exercise outside.


12.   If you want to celebrate historically, build a bonfire and host a day of celebration with music, food, and laughter.

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