On a much lighter note than my last post, it’s summer solstice this weekend! Solstice is the time to have a party, a bonfire, a feast and dancing. The key themes we often find in solstice celebrations make easy sense – fire, dancing, fertility, feast, festival – and in many northern European traditions, fairies. And of course, the sun – the source of all growing here on earth. The fires are a symbol for the sun, of course. In America, it is also the beginning of the travel season, when families take trips to get together, or hold reunions, or take the classic family road trip. We celebrate “freedom” at his time. Scandinavian countries celebrate midsummer with traditional foods and a big feast, bonfires and dancing. Northern European cultures often celebrate by jumping over the fire, a remnant from Beltane maybe. In America, Native American tribes often also have dances, feast and fires, though their big harvest celebrations and powwows usually come later in the summer toward harvest time. These are often occassions for travel. Many Eastern cultures also celebrate around solstice time with similar themes.
To create a midsummer celebration, you could hold it on solstice, or a little later in the summer, mid-July. The 4th of July, as Jack Santino notes in All Around the Year, has a lot in common with traditional European and Native American midsummer festivals. Feast, festival – often music – fireworks – which are kind of like bonfires, freedom.
Our family plan is to celebrate midsummer in mid-July, because school is getting out late for us. Our plan is to have a feast from the garden, make bouquets and garlands from all our wildly growing plants, have a fire, jump over –make a wish, seal the deal. Maybe make some sunshine cupcakes – with glitter frosting – cause my girls love the cupcakes! We are going to invite others to tell stories about fire — putting your feet to it, being warmed by it, getting burned, wildfires. Before we do this, we are going to take a road trip. – freedom! As I pull the pieces together, I’ll add them to the blog. We’ll see how it goes. If all goes to plan, we’ll start with the garlands tomorrow.
How about you? How do you celebrate solstice? What’s your fire story?
The image for this post comes from a quilt my friends made me when Sabina, my littlest, was born. This piece was made by Mandie Rose and reminded me of summer. Thanks Mandie!