Celebrating the Summer Solstice â€“ 21 JuneJune 20, 2013 by The Co-operative Food
Isnâ€™t it strange that we call the summer solstice mid-summer, when really summer is just getting underway? Often in this country weâ€™re still waiting for the warmer days to come.
The solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years across the world as the longest day in the northern hemisphere, and the shortest in the southern. There are all sorts of fertility connotations â€“ and pagan celebrations take place at ancient places of worship like Stonehenge, but for most of us itâ€™s a good excuse to gather at a hill top, light a fire and have a jolly good time.
The solstice is also a Christian celebration, marking the birth of St John the Baptist, and itâ€™s celebrated in many countries including Spain, Italy and Brazil â€“ and still with fire playing a major part in the goings on.
In Britain it seems that the extremities of the country mark mid-summer more than the middle. In the west Cornwall town of Penzance thereâ€™s a week long festival called Golowan that culminates in Mazey Day. Thereâ€™s a fantastic and exciting procession during the day and bonfires and fireworks at night.
On the Scottish Borders and far up on the northern coast gatherings and fires abound. Up on the north coast thereâ€™s about eighteen and a half hours of daylight at mid-summer, and even when the sun goes down it doesnâ€™t really get dark, so itâ€™s no wonder people get together on the beautiful beaches there.
If thereâ€™s nothing special going on where you are then you can always use the 21st of June as an excuse to make your own fun, maybe even have your own contained fire in the form of a barbecue! Here are a few thoughts for mid summer joy:
Live outside more: Itâ€™s warmer (really it is), so grab the opportunity to get outside more. Have a picnic, or barbecue. Use the Food Magazine to find some lovely ideas for food thatâ€™s as good eaten outside as it is on the kitchen table.
Bring the outside in: Add a splash of living colour to your house or flat with a few potted flowers in the window, or even a bunch of buttercups!
New broom sweeps clean: I know that the phrase is â€˜spring cleaningâ€™, but when itâ€™s warm enough to throw open all your doors and windows itâ€™s a great time to give your home an extra good clean.
Enjoy the green spaces: Whether you live in a town, city, or countryside itâ€™s easy to let routine get in the way of a trip into the open air, yet we all feel so much better for it. Pack a simple meal and make the most of the warm summer days and longer evenings.
Whether mid summer is a cause for celebration in your home, or just the longest day, letâ€™s look forward to more sunshine with fresh seasonal delights to help us feel the sun on the inside too.