Summer Solstice is a time of celebration, feasting and defined as the longest day of the year. It has been celebrated for centuries in a variety of cultures across the continents. Originating in a society that was closely attuned to the changes in seasons and the summer solstice became a magical time. Bonfires were set to honor the Sun, a way to pray for its protection for the harvest to come and to celebrate the beginning of the warm summer season. Fertility rites and the warm summer days seemed to go hand in hand with the celebrations of agrarian societies that were tied to a rural lifestyle. Today, many of the celebrations are centered on the feast of St John and they can occur any time during the week surrounding June 21st.
With many traditions and rituals for Summer Solstice, Jennifer Dawson recalls celebrating this special evening with her family as a child.
“In my family a tradition that we always enjoyed growing up was to make the Summer Solstice Sunset a special occasion. It is very easy to grab a blanket and your children’s favourite snacks, and make a night of the longest day of the year (let them stay up passed their bedtime). Take your camera and capture the evening and the sunset and catch up with your children and talk about all of the exciting summer plans that you have in store. My brothers and sisters and I would compose a “Summer List” of everything we wanted to do that summer ahead. The Summer Solstice sunsets are still some of my favorite childhood memories and a tradition I hope to carry on with my family one day.”
For a unique event celebrating Summer Solstice, in Reykjavík, Iceland, Secret Solstice is the only festival where the sun does not set for three entire days. People can experience being in the Midnight Sun with unbroken daylight as the sun never fully sets. Iceland’s unique location close to the Arctic Circle means that in Summer, the days don’t just get longer, but the sun just continues throughout the sky in an unbroken arc, meaning daylight that never ends.