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The Summer Solstice
background image: 'Summer Solstice at Stonehenge' by Charlotte (age 7)
The summer solstice (midsummer) is the longest day of the year and falls on June 21st. The sun is at it's peak in the sky and is very powerful at this time. We usually visit asacred site and picnic on this day. We spent one solstice in Glastonbury, which was a wonderful experience with hundreds of people gathering to celebrate this ancient festival together. Many people sat high up on the Tor all night to watch the sun set and rise.
Solstice 2002 - Parkhouse stone circle:
Below are some of our favourite books on this festival - the links take you through to Amazon's information pages on the titles where you can read further or buy.
'Midsummer - Magical Celebrations of the Summer Solstice' by Anna Franklin. There's really something for everyone here - whether you want simple ideas to mark the day or elaborate rituals and spells. There are also many traditional recipes and information on the importance of the solstice to different cultures.
'The Summer Solstice' by Ellen B. Jackson and Jan Davey Ellis - a great book for kids. A lot of detail about how different cultures and traditions marked the solstice. Also many hands on activities are suggested such as making sundials and even cooking with the heat of the sun.
The bards take on it - 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' by William Shakespeare. Run amok in the woods with Bottom and Puck!
Getting ready for the next season - 'The Autumn Equinox - Celebrating the Harvest' by Ellen B. Jackson and Jan Davey Ellis. A wonderful book for children detailing how different cultures have celebrated harvest time and the different holidays and festivals of this time.
'Cooking by the Seasons - simple vegetarian feasts' - a beautiful collection of recipes divided into the four main seasons. Most recipes are either vegan or very easily veganised - there is even a tofu salad especially for vegan goddesses! Information is given on the eight major sabbats (summer solstice, Yule etc.) along with suggested menus - summer recipes include garlic salsa, ginger mushroom soup, green goddess guacamole, summer garden couscous and orange sherbert with chocolate chips, and many, many ideas for everyday feasts. There is a really good vegan version of macaroni cheese - baked shells with brocolli and tomato. Yum yum yum.
Don't miss theWinter Solstice page for books on winter and spring.