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Midsummer - Summer Solstice

Midsummer - Summer Solstice
Don’t sleep away the long days of summer

By Kari Svenneby
Celebrated all over the world and Europe (especially in Scandinavia) the summer solstice is a big excuse to get together on the longest day of the year. In Sweden it ‘s even a national holiday. The summer solstice falls somewhere between the 20-21st of June.

It might be the Swedes who really know how to celebrate Midsummer, with costumes and singing and dancing around the maypole decorated with wildflowers wearing flower wreaths in their hair.

Here in North America many native tribes, who sky-watched for thousands of years, were known to gather and celebrate (in a variety of ways) the longest day of the year.

Midsummer is known to be a magical time and many artist and poets have tried to capture Midsummer’s magical spirit. Perhaps Shakespeare attended a party that inspired “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

My Midsummer in Norway was celebrated with a bonfire on the shore of a lake or the ocean. I still remember the smell of all the bonfires and the barbequed food. For me it is a time when good friends and family gather.

The bonfire tradition goes back to pagan days. It was believed to produce fertile soil and protection from witches and evil spirits. Witches were suspected of being active on midsummer nights gathering their witchcraft ingredients and preparing for witchery at evil gatherings. Maybe they were just out enjoying the nice weather.

There are many different cultures and customs on how to celebrate midsummer, but one thing is the same… It is a celebration of nature and being outside.

Now I live in the big city of Toronto and a bonfire is really not very popular with the folks who make the laws in this city. But I still celebrate midsummer with a little twist, we take aspects from different cultures and make it our own. The best thing is the kids love it.

This is how we celebrate Midsummer.

This year we do it as part of our outdoor playgroup by the beach. Our young kids are running out of steam before the summer night comes, but a chance to enjoy a bonfire in the evening can be magical.

We ask everyone we invite to dress up like fairies; it is very cute with little kids wearing wings and flower wreaths. You can never go wrong with dress up.

Pick wildflowers (or buy fresh cut flowers in the store) bring them to the party and teach the kids and adults how to make flower crowns. Click here

Make giant soup bubbles, read about how to make your own bubble solution.

Sing and dance with the voice you have and be playful. If it is just for adults, well you do some folk songs instead.

Have a picnic with the best in fresh ingredients summer has to offer.

What are you waiting for? Don’t sleep away the summer night. Summer is here for such a short time. You never know what kind of magic might happen on a midsummer night.

 


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