I hope everyone had a happy Summer Solstice!
Ours was positively wonderful. It fell on a Saturday this year, so we had lots of opportunity to simply revel in the extravagance of summer and sunshine this time around.
I wrote a bit about why we choose to celebrate the summer solstice (and other solar festivals) on the blog last year. I continue to learn more about these “natural holidays” (as I tend to call them), and to try new things as we develop some of our own family traditions around the Christian year as well as the natural one.
The main reason I want to celebrate these days is because I long for my family to maintain a deep connection with and appreciation for the natural world. The more connected children feel to earth, the more likely they are to care for it as they get older. I want my daughter to experience continued awe and wonder and love and familiarity with God’s glorious creation, so that she will always feel compelled to care for and protect it.
And I love fully experiencing the seasons as well. It makes me feel more whole and grounded.
So here are a few things we tried this year, to help us connect to the beautiful world around us.
Our New Solstice Traditions
The day before solstice, we made different kinds of suns out of homemade modelling clay (I used this recipe). Summer solstice is all about celebrating the light and the extravagance of sunshine on the longest day of the year.
I completely and shamelessly stole this idea from here.
I’d purchased a sun-shaped cookie cutter for this purpose some time last year. Of course Lydia had to add faces.
They had to dry overnight.
The next day (Solstice day!) we painted them with red, yellow and orange paint.
According to folklore, Midsummer Day is the most potent day to collect herbs. So we went outside and harvested some lavender from the flower bed, which was JUUUUUST at the right time to be picked. I brought some in to dry (it makes the house smell amazing):
And I also used some in our Summer wreath.
(I made a wreath out of grapevines last year; every season I just switch out the decorations by weaving in natural elements from the season. This time I put in lavender and wild clover, and wrapped it in gold ribbon to represent sunlight. Super-simple.)
I like the idea of “decorating the threshold” for each season by changing up the wreath on the front door.
While I harvested the lavender and clover, Lydia picked and ate mulberries, which seemed solsticey enough.
We also brought nature inside by filling a vase with wild clover. It’s not super-fancy, but it makes our table smell so divine.
The next day (Sunday), we had a big party! We invite a bunch of our friends and their kids over for barbecue, and to just enjoy the long summer day.
The kids played in the kiddie pool . . .
We grilled some of our pastured beef on kabobs on the barbecue. . .
And the kids loved watching the chickens, which was fun.
We were going to have a bonfire, but most of the kids had to go to bed before the sun went down, so that didn’t happen this year. Another year!
That was our solstice celebration!
Have you ever celebrated the solar festivals? I’d love to hear how!