5 ways to celebrate summer solstice
Summer is acumen in! How to make the most of the longest day of the year
words Eve Walker
Thousands of people flocked to Stonehenge for the Summer solstice today, June 21. In the early hours of the morning, crowds watched the sun rise over the great stone circle, which reopened for the first time since the pandemic. 6,000 people gathered together, including the Druids and Pagans who use the space as a place of worship. They recited prayers, and shared food and drink for a solstice feast. Others celebrated the first official day of summer by basking in the 16+ hours of sunlight, soaking up the rays and the atmosphere.
So what is the Summer solstice?
The longest day of the year happens when one of Earth's poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. In the Northern hemisphere, this falls on 21 June, which is the only day that the sun perfectly aligns in the middle of the stones at Stonehenge. The extra sunlight marks the start of summer, and is believed by Pagans and other religions to link the day to fire, fertility and new beginnings.
If you weren’t able to get to Stonehenge, fear not. Here are five ways you can celebrate wherever you are.
June is the perfect month to find edible flowers and weeds. There are so many yummy wild foods in season in the UK – this time of year, you can go hunting for Elderflower, Dandelion, nettle, wild garlic, honeysuckle and Pineapple Weed.
Make sure you stay safe, though, and be sure to look up expert guides to identifying the right plants that aren’t toxic or poisonous. The Woodland Trust provides a handy guide to responsible foraging, to make sure you aren’t disturbing wildlife, forests, and flora. It’s important to stay sustainable, leave plenty left behind you, not pick endangered species, and get permission.
Feast with friends
In our opinion, there’s never a better way to celebrate anything than grabbing your nearest and dearest and eating really good grub. If you’ve gone foraging, this is a great opportunity to reap the rewards of your harvest. Wild Food UK has a fantastic wild food recipe section on their website – try their delectable wild garlic focaccia recipe or make some refreshing elderflower cordial to cool down in the heat. Great British Chefs have a bountiful offering of recipes for when you’re done picking too – try Simon Rogan's spiced brioche and buckthorn curd, rosehip syrup or jam by Geoffrey Smeddle, or the blackberry trifle and pistachio sponge by Simon Hulstone.
If foraging isn’t your thing, or perhaps your harvesting expedition wasn’t successful, check out these delicious summer recipe ideas that are light, healthy, and ideal for sharing – with ingredients you can nab on a solid Sainsbury’s run. Our favourite is the fresh fruit and fennel salad, which is a stunning combination of sweet, sharp, and savoury.
Sun bath therapy
Get outside for as long as you can today. Sunlight helps to regulate melatonin production in the body, which helps level out hormone levels, regulates your sleep cycle and decreases rates of depression. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Spend as much time outside today as you can, and reflect on your current path. The fruitful summertime is a great opportunity to nurture your intentions and manifestations for the time until the Winter solstice (December 21) and letting go of the old. Wear bright clothes, surround yourself with nature, and enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables with loved ones.
The folk horror film from indie film house A24 takes place solely in the bright summer light of the Solstice, and follows a couple (one half being Florence Pugh) visiting their friend’s ancestral Swedish commune. Aside from the thrilling plot that will delight leftfield horror lovers, expect stunning visuals, a high-octane colour palette and a gorgeous soundtrack inspired by Nordic folk music, composed by British electronic musician Bobby Krlic.