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How to celebrate the summer solstice

Updated On 17th June, 2021

As the days slowly get longer, the nights get shorter and the temperatures get warmer, we are all beginning to enjoy the start of the UK summer. England lockdown restrictions are slowly easing, the sun is showing its glorious self and this coming Monday, June 21st, we have the UK summer solstice 2021.

The summer solstice is a time for reflection, energy and renewal. It’s a time when we can cast out the dark energy within us and let in the new light. If you have no idea what I’m on about, in this blog post I hope to answer questions such as ‘When is the UK summer solstice?’, ‘What is a solstice?’ and ‘What is the summer solstice?’, as well as giving you some ideas for how to celebrate the UK summer solstice 2021!

Check out all my wellbeing guides here.

What is the summer solstice?

Planet Earth is tilted at about 23.5 degrees. As it rotates around the sun throughout the year, each hemisphere, northern and southern, experiences half a year tilted toward the sun, and the other half tilted away from it. The solstice marks the point in time that one of the Earth’s poles is in its maximum tilt towards the sun, while the other is in its maximum tilt away from the sun.

When the Northern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, Europe, Canada, America and parts of Asia experience their summer, with longer, warmer days and the summer solstice at the peak of summer on the longest day of the year. In contrast, countries in the Southern hemisphere, such as Australia, New Zealand and South America experience winter at this time, because the Southern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun. 6 months later the situations reverse!

The summer solstice is an astrological event that occurs when one of Earth’s axis, or poles, is at its maximum tilt. The sun reaches its highest point in the sky on the summer solstice, and is this is why it is also the longest day and the shortest night of the year. It is the peak of the solar year, with the sun at the height of its “life-giving power”. After the summer solstice, the days get shorter and shorter until the shortest day and the longest night of the year is reached on the winter solstice.

When is the summer solstice in 2021?

There are two solstices each year: one in June, and one in December. One is the summer solstice and one is the winter solstice, but the season that you welcome for each solstice depends on which hemisphere you live in. The summer solstice marks the end of spring and the start of summer, but the winter solstice marks the end of autumn and the start of winter. 

In the Northern hemisphere, the summer solstice is usually between June 20 and June 22, while in the Southern Hemisphere, the summer solstice is usually between December 20 and December 22.

The date of the summer solstice changes each year because of the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar has 364 days in a calendar year, representing the amount of time it takes to travel around the sun. Every 4 years we add an extra day, creating a leap year, to keep time with the seasons. This extra day means that the day of the solstice changes each year. 

UK summer solstice 2021 date: this year the summer solstice in the Northern hemisphere will happen on Monday June 21 2021. The sun will rise between 04:45-04:50 and set between 21:20-21:25 (it differs slightly depending on your exact location), giving us the longest day of the year. 

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How to celebrate the summer solstice in 2021...

Cultures all over the world have celebrated the summer solstice since… well, forever. These traditions, rituals and celebrations focus on the meaning of the summer solstice. 

The summer solstice represents a time of ascension and the rebirth or return of the light. Spiritually, the sun’s light is thought to be the same light that shines within each human being. It’s the time of year to get rid of old, dark energy and realign with yourself, your mind and your body. The summer solstice is a great time to set goals, consider your life path, and create more abundant happiness in your life! 

Traditionally people celebrated renewal, life, fertility, the potential for a good harvest, inner and outer abundance, ascension, and the full return of the light of the sun. Today, people celebrate the summer solstice with outdoor parties, festivals, singing, dancing, and bonfires.

Here are some ideas for how to celebrate the summer solstice in 2021!

1. Visit Stonehenge.

Update: Sunrise and sunset will be live-streamed by English Heritage due to COVID restrictions making the event unable to go ahead in person. Watch the live streaming here.

The sarsen stones at Stonehenge, put up in at the centre of the site in about 2500 BC, were carefully aligned to line up with the movements of the sun. At Stonehenge on the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone in the north-east part of the horizon and its first rays shine into the heart of Stonehenge.

Traditionally, hundreds of visitors travel to Wiltshire, England, on the UK summer solstice to witness this magnificent event. Because of the pandemic, the UK summer solstice at Stonehenge was live streamed on Facebook in 2020 and will be again this year! In 2021, English Heritage hopes to offer a combined virtual and in-person event. The organizers will be live-streaming the solstice from sunset to sunrise for free so that those who are unable to join or feel nervous about attending an event with lots of people may still enjoy the occasion from the comfort and safety of their own home.

The UK summer solstice also aligns with the UK relaxing some of the current lockdown rules. However, if the safety guidelines change for England or Wiltshire, however, plans will need to change.

2. Soak up the sun.

The summer solstice traditionally honours and celebrates the sun, so spend the day basking in it! Whether you’re soaking up the sun in your garden at home, hitting the beach in Cornwall, or going for a nice walk in England, take some time to soak up that Vitamin D and those endorphins and enjoy some sunshine. PS- don’t forget your sunscreen!

While you’re enjoying the sun, make sure you get up to watch the sunrise and watch the sunset before you go to sleep to mark the beginning and the end of the UK summer solstice 2021, the longest day of the year! 

3. Enjoy time outside in nature.

The summer solstice is the perfect time to really engage with and deepen our Earth connection. Time surrounded by nature is so important for our health and wellbeing, so make it a priority for this UK summer solstice. 

If you love the water, the summer solstice falls on the first day of summer so use that as an excuse to go swimming in the sea, in a river or in a lake! If not, go for a walk, enjoy some time in a park, explore some woodland, or hit the beach! The UK is home to 15 National Parks so why not use this as an excuse to visit one of them. 

13 stunning walks to go on in England

4. Hold or attend a summer solstice garden party.

Bonfires, dancing, singing, music, flowers… all parts of a traditional summer solstice festival that you can enjoy either at home or at an organised event! 

Make the most of the extra hours of sunlight and have or go to a bonfire to celebrate the UK summer solstice 2021. Play some music, make some yummy treats for the bonfire, and be present with your nearest and dearest as you celebrate the official beginning of summer.

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5. Practise yoga and meditation.

The summer solstice is a great time to truly be present and enjoy the moment, which can be done through meditation and/or yoga. Grab a yoga mat, head to a quiet space and take a moment for yourself to relax and meditate. 

If you aren’t sure where to get started, check out the gratitude meditation video below or this yoga video

PS, did you know that the UK summer solstice 2021 is on the same day as the International Day of Yoga – Monday June 21st, 2021!

6. Reflect on this year and set goals for next year.

The solstices and equinoxes are a great time of year to reflect on your progress and set goals regularly. There is a solstice or an equinox every three months, so it’s a great time to sit down regularly and review your current goals. 

Here’s how I set my goals and make my dreams a reality.

You can also manifest and visualise your future plans. Write down your intentions or write a few affirmations. The intentions are things, ideas, or habits you would like to bring into your life, and the affirmations ares a way to tell yourself that those intentions are already yours so that you can make them a reality. 

Journalling is an excellent way of figuring out what you want from the present and the future. 

What is Journaling? How to start your journal today.

7. Plan a Midsummer celebration at home or book a weekend away to Celebrate in Sweden - the home of Midsummer!

Whilst the pandemic may be restricting travel right now for many of us, I couldn’t not mention some of the gorgeous celebrations that go on around the world during this time. This one is for those of you that like to plan ahead, create a bucket list and dream.

My favourite Summer Solstice celebration (and one still on my bucket list) is Midsummer in Sweden. The celebration of Midsummer in Sweden usually takes place on a Friday, that which is closest to the summer solstice in Sweden. The weekend is marked in the calendar as a public holiday and both Friday (Midsummers Eve) and Saturday are celebrated.

It is typical that Midsummer is celebrated in the countryside and so the day before, it’s common that towns and cities close up and life is packed up into the back of peoples cars, ready for the adventure!

Families, friends and loved ones come together, usually out in the heart of nature, to celebrate life, the light, the long evenings and everything in between. Folk songs, dancing, pretty flower crowns, traditional dresses, maypoles and snaps (Swedish drink) galore… all until the early hours of the morning!

It looks like such a joyful, heart-centred celebration. Read more about celebrating Summer Solstice in Sweden here.

 

How do you celebrate the summer solstice?

What are you planning for the UK summer solstice 2021? Anything you’d add?

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Mollie.

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