Our Solstice Celebration

Ideas for Celebrating Summer Solstice -- simple crafts, activities and food

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.

Making clay suns - Summer solstice traditions

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.

Clay suns for summer solstice

clay suns for summer solstice

They had to dry overnight.

The next day (Solstice day!) we painted them with red, yellow and orange paint.

Painting clay suns for summer solstice

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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):

Lavender drying - harvest on summer solstice!

And I also used some in our Summer wreath.

Summer Solstice 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.

picking mulberries

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.

Flowers to celebrate summer solstice

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 . . .

kids in pool

We grilled some of our pastured beef on kabobs on the barbecue. . .

grillingAnd feasted! (I tried to keep with the red/orange theme for the decor).

kabobs

solstice feast

ice cream

And the kids loved watching the chickens, which was fun.

watching chickens

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!

 

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Comments

  1. Natasha says:

    Lovely idea for a tradition!

  2. This looks like such a fabulous time! I was actually just talking to my mom about how lots of people I know celebrate the Solstice. Of course, her mind immediately goes to Wicca, and I have to explain that lots of people follow the natural calendar…not just Wiccans. I think there’s something truly beautiful about centering one’s life around the natural year in addition to the Christian year.

    Your suns are super adorable. What do you plan on doing with them now? I’m actually curious about what you do with all the stuff that you end up creating with Lydia. So many parents I know have talked about all the random stuff that gets made when you have kids. How do you handle/prevent the clutter?

    • Hi Rachel! Excellent question about what to do with the stuff. For starters, I did use them to decorate the table at our party. But after that, I wasn’t sure what to do with them. She’s been playing with them the last couple of days; but I’m guessing we’ll end up chucking them fairly soon. Luckily, since the clay is just make of stuff from the kitchen (flour and corn starch), I can just compost them or throw them in the field next to our house to decompose.

      We don’t actually *make* a ton of stuff. She draws a lot, and I keep the best of her art and recycle the rest. MOST of what I make with Lydia (like play dough) just uses stuff from the kitchen (lots of flour, salt, food colouring, etc), so a lot of it ends up in the field to decompose. Her sensory table is mostly filled with edible and/or natural stuff (like sand). The stuff she puts together with pipe cleaners, beads, buttons etc, I eventually just disassemble and put back into the containers to reuse. She also plays with a lot of stuff from the yard, and I decorate the house mostly with natural materials (branches, flowers, pine cones) and they also go into the compost when they’re done.

      I guess we’ll see how things go when she gets older, but so far it hasn’t been too much of a problem. :)

  3. Hi, we are not Wiccan but celebrate all the festivals of the Wheel of the Year. I love your suns :)

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