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6 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Teresa Mason
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The dog days of summer are finally here in the northern hemisphere! Long, lazy days spent poolside or on the beach, barbeques and outdoor festivals – every day seems to be a celebration of the beautiful weather. The pinnacle of all this summer lovin’ is the longest day of the year – June 21st – the summer solstice.
 
A bit about the summer solstice: The celebration of solstices dates back to pre-Christian traditions. The word “solstice” derives from Latin and is roughly translated to the “sun stands still.”
 
There are two solstices every year: the winter solstice and the summer solstice. In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice can take place anytime between June 19th to the 23rd depending on the Earth’s alignment with the sun. This solstice is celebrated under many names: the first day of summer, Midsummer’s Eve, St John’s Eve; for others, it is a celebrated day of fertility, and for some it’s simply the happiest day of the year (there have been countless studies on sunshine’s effect on mood and the longest day of the year provides plenty of sunshine).
 

Below are six simple ways to celebrate the summer solstice:

 

Yoga

Soak in the longest day of the year by doing some extra sun salutations outside. It is traditional to practice 108 sun salutations to usher in the solstice and activate the sun’s powerful energy within our bodies (preferably performed at dawn and facing east).
 
2014 was the first year that June 21st was officially recognized as International Yoga Day. In New York City, they close off Times Square to do yoga for the summer solstice celebration!
 

Have a bonfire

Bonfires have been a traditional celebration ceremony for many religions in recognition of the sun’s power. You can dance around the fire, tell stories, make food, or simply watch and appreciate the power of fire and sunshine.
 

Flower crowns

Bring that snapchat filter to life! Solstices are technically astral celebrations based on the Earth’s position in the universe, but can be spent appreciating every aspect of nature and everything the sun feeds. Make flower wreaths, crowns, bouquets, give your garden some TLC, and renew your own intentions for growth. You, too, are nourished by the sun!
 

Throw a party

Make the most of the extra hours of sunlight by spending it with the people you care about! Host a Summer Solstice party and enjoy all the best parts of summer with your loved ones.
 

Eat summer foods

With or without a party, you can enjoy the fruits of the season (literally). Fire up the barbeque, find recipes for summertime fruits and vegetables, and enjoy the earth’s bounty!
 

Meditate

Take a few moments to appreciate all that is around you. You can do this sitting outside, walking through whatever nature is around you, or even indoors with your eyes closed. Being mindful of all the good that you have in your life can bring a wave of gratitude and inspire you to look inward for support and growth all summer long.
 

Solstices are powerful reminders of the ebb and flow of time. Like the phases of the moon, everything around us and everything inside us experiences change through growth and stillness, through light and dark, through summer and winter. Celebrate the time you have taken to nurture yourself as the days have grown longer, and use these suggestions to inspire your own celebration!
 
No matter what the reason, June 21st has been a day of solstice celebration since ancient times. How do you best like to celebrate summer? Please share in the comments below, and happy summer yogis!!
 

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Teresa Mason

Teresa is a Hunter College graduate and writer who is riding the ebb and flow of a creative writing career. Cat-mom, vegetarian, and yogi, Teresa hopes to inspire others to live consciously through self-love and a healthy lifestyle.

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