What’s the idea?
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Summer Solstice and find out exactly how you can enjoy it this year.
What’s the story?
Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
This abundance of daylight is celebrated in many different ways, most richly by the Pagan community over thousands of years.
Understand why we have Summer Solstice and ways to celebrate.
People should do this because…?
Whether you simply enjoy the extra daylight Summer Solstice brings, or revel in Pagan celebrations, learning about this natural phenomenon and its mystical wonder will bring new meaning to this special day.
How do you do it?
On the 20th June, anyone in the northern hemisphere will experience the longest day, or the most amount of daylight, of the year.
Also known as Midsummer, the amount of time differs depending on where you are.
In the UK for example, there will be 16 hours and 38 minutes of sun (hopefully it’s not too cloudy!).
This is because the earth is tilted and is most inclined towards the Sun on this day.
This only happens once a year.
Why is this day associated with Pagan rituals?
Pagans have celebrated Summer Solstice for thousands of years. Their devotion to the Earth and natural world means they believe this day holds special powers.
They call the day Litha, and worship the King and Queen of the fertile lands.
Their love for each other ensures the success of the ripening crops which have been planted in spring and are harvested in autumn.
In traditional pagan folklore, fairies and other mythical creatures would appear on this day.
To ward off the evil spirits, flower and herb garlands were worn.
This tradition continues today and you can even buy them in shops (we show you how to make your own on our special Summer Solstice Arts & Crafts page).
The main activity is watching the first sunrise of summer (approx 4:43 a.m. in the UK!).
The most serious revellers stay up all night to witness this, and then party long into the day!
Why is Stonehenge associated with Summer Solstice?
Stonehenge’s origins remain mysterious, but there is reason to believe that its design was aligned to the sun.
This is because Summer Solstice is the only day of the year that the sun reaches and shines on the central altar, due to its position in the sky.
Many believe this indicates that it is an ancient druid site.
Pagans (and non Pagans) visit in their thousands every Midsummer to see this incredible phenomenon in person.
This year the site is closed but English Heritage will be live streaming the sunrise for people to watch at home.
Food and drink also feature heavily in celebrations, as do bonfires, incense sticks and drum circles.
Of course, you don’t have to be a Pagan to enjoy these things!
Our articles over the week will inspire you to celebrate and provide all the practical tips you need to have a special day.
We also show you how little ones can make their own Stonehenge on our Summer Solstice Kids page.
Stuff you may need
Alarm clock if you want to watch the sunrise locally!
Enjoy food and drink. Perhaps even with a posh picnic!