When curfews and closings are associated with sundown, a day of endless sunlight means the fun never has to come to an end. There's a reason why cultures all around the world have taken summer solstice celebrations seriously since the beginning of time. In fact, just thinking about the debauchery and convivial indulgence of Midsummer has me and the Swedish ancestry on my father's side seriously contemplating getting on the next flight out to the homeland and fully embracing all the wildness. If you're like me and that prospect must remain a daydream rather than a reality (at least for now), then you need to know what summer solstice traditions you should do with your friends, no matter where in the world you are.
Because sure, while it would be great to embark on a spiritual pilgrimage to the Stonehenge or become one with the universe in a yogic ritual in India, there's no reason why you can't take part in a celebration right at home on June 21. Going out of your way to participate meaningfully in the transition into summer will color the rest of the season with exhilaration and bliss. If you're not convinced yet, you better start getting inspired soon, because summer solstice traditions are no joke. I mean, what would your ancestors think of you choosing not to celebrate the longest day of the year? I know mine would be disappointed.
Make Flower Crowns
In Scandinavia (namely Sweden), Midsummer is potentially the most exciting holiday of the entire year. A hallmark tradition involved with the celebration is to design and wear your very own flower crown. The best part? Men and women are both instructed to wear the floral headpiece, as it symbolizes fertility and natural abundance. So, gather your favorite blossoms together and let them dazzle your pretty little head.
Sing And Dance Around A Bonfire
Lighting a bonfire and inviting all your loved ones to sing and dance around the crackling blaze is a tradition seen all over the Northern Hemisphere. In Slavic cultures, the ritual surrounding the fire is taken a step further by calling on young adults to jump over the flames. In fact, according to University of Alberta professor Natalie Kononenko, if two lovebirds jump over the fire while holding hands and they reach the other side with their fingers still interlocked, it is said that "they’ll get married."
Play Some Baseball
While playing baseball on the summer solstice is not an ancient tradition, it's most certainly an American one. In Fairbanks, Alaska, people have been gathering for the annual Midnight Sun baseball game since 1906. According to TIME, the game begins when the pitcher throws the first ball at 10:30 p.m. The sunlit game lasts all night long.
Feast On Some Delicious Food & Drink
In the ancient region of Gaul (which encompassed modern-day France, the U.K., Switzerland, and more), the eating and drinking involved with the summer solstice was serious business. It even earned the fanciful title of "Feast of Epona." Regardless of what year it is, the feasting is always the best part of any Midsummer celebration in the Northern Hemisphere.
Since the summer solstice always symbolizes abundance, fertility, and indulgence, you're encouraged to gorge yourself on delicacies without any guilt whatsoever.
Do Yoga With A Large Group
In India, the summer solstice is celebrated by inviting the whole community to practice a session of yoga. In fact, according to TIME, it's even said that the first yoga practitioner, Adiyogi, first met with his students on the first day of summer. These yoga gatherings are nothing like you've ever seen before. As many 100,000 people took part in a session of yoga in the city of Faridabad.
Dance Around A Maypole
In Swedish culture, the community dances around a maypole decorated with leaves during Midsummer celebrations. Children, teenagers, adults, and even elders take part in this tradition that bridges the gap between so many generations. If you're of age to drink, these dances inevitably become more wild and riotous once the vodka makes a few rounds.
Spend The Day At The Beach
From Long Beach to Santa Barbara, and all over the California coast, the beach is the place to be on the summer solstice. Each coastal town has something to offer, whether it be a music festival, a volleyball competition, or even a spiritual gathering of minds. Can you honestly think of a better destination on the longest day of the of the year?
Go Skinny Dipping
While this isn't necessarily an "official," tradition in Scandinavian culture, the drinking and decadence often leads to more than a few brazen souls stripping their clothes off and diving straight into a pool of water or even heading for the sauna. Midsummer is technically a Pagan fertility ritual after all, so nakedness is not received with any harsh judgement. I mean, why not make the summer solstice your excuse for going skinny dipping?