Solstice, midsummer, litha
These words are all used to denote the time of year in the northern hemisphere when the sun reaches its peak in the sky. As such it is considered the longest day of the year (though the actual date varies slightly from year to year) and marks the official start of summer.
Solstice is a compound of the latin term sol meaning sun and sistere meaning to stand still.
From Pagan traditions, whose term is litha for the summer solstice, to Slavic ones, there are celebrations and festivals taking place worldwide that recognize this auspicious occasion. Celebration of the sun (usually in the form of bonfires), more outdoors time and new beginnings seem to be hallmarks of summer solstice rituals.
Here are some wellness and travel related things you can do for the summer solstice:
- Environmental wellness: With so many hours of sunlight, now is the time to be outside more. Take a walk, picnic in the park and stop to smell all the flowers in bloom.
- Physical wellness: New season, new beginnings. Why not cultivate a yoga practice starting now? June 21st also happens to be the International Day of Yoga.
- Spiritual wellness: This is a good time for goal setting. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Now is the time to make a plan.
- Emotional wellness: Is there something you need to let go of? Write it on a piece of paper then throw into your bonfire. And practice all safety rules regarding fire!
- Social & Intellectual wellness: June 21st is also National Aboriginal Day in Canada. Learn about the First Nations of this land and their use of plants for food, medicine, spiritual practice and items for daily living.
- Travel: The three territories that comprise Canada’s north are often called the “land of the midnight sun“. Tee off at midnight at golf tournaments in participating towns in the Yukon and Northwest Territories; a trip to Scandinavia, though pricey, would be an ideal place to visit. More daylight hours means you can pack in a full day of sightseeing; the ultimate summer solstice experience is a trip to Stonehenge to watch the sun rise over these ancient stones.