Celebrated for being the longest day of the year, the summer solstice is recognized as a noteworthy event throughout countries all over the world. From centuries-old rituals to backyard barbecues, the annual occasion continues to inspire celebration. Here are some ways you can enjoy the extra sunlight with family and friends.
Why Celebrate the Solstice?
Occurring on June 21 in North America, the summer solstice occurs when the earth’s tilt causes the sun to sit directly over the Tropic of Cancer. As a result, we enjoy a little extra daylight. How much depends on your latitude, or distance from the equator. That said, most people honor the solstice less for the extra daylight and more as a celebration of summer’s arrival.
There are all sorts of ways to honor the occasion, including:
Host a cookout. Whether you do it in your backyard, lake or public park, a good cookout allows you to celebrate the solstice among family and friends. Send formal invitations for your solstice celebration and kick off the summer with a festive outdoor gathering that includes activities for adults and children.
Participate in evening outdoor yoga. The United Nations has declared June 21 International Yoga Day. Much of this has to do with India’s tradition of observing the solstice through mass yoga sessions. If you enjoy yoga, look into participating in an outdoor yoga session and start the summer with a more serene perspective.
Attend a festival. In countless communities throughout the United States, the summer solstice is marked by festivals and community events. Do a Google search or contact your local chamber of commerce to see if any events are occurring within driving distance of your town.
Let the kids stay up late. Since school is out during the summer months, many parents let their kids stay up later than usual during the solstice. It can be a real treat for young children to continue playing outside past their usual bedtimes. Just make sure they maintain their usual bedtime brushing and flossing habits, so you can avoid unnecessary trips to your local dentist.