Summer Solstice Party Ideas
Summer is the perfect time for parties, and what better excuse for an outdoor celebration than the summer solstice? Celebrated on June 21st, it marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Of course, people have been celebrating this for centuries, across countries and cultures. After the slow unfurling of winter into spring, it was a moment to herald the return of light, life, and nature’s abundance. Today, it’s an opportunity to gather family and friends outdoors, to take advantage of the extra sunshine and light. But what does a summer solstice party involve? How can you translate ancient traditions into modern ones? Here are five ideas to make planning your summer solstice party a midsummer night’s dream.
Host a bonfire. Bonfires are an important part of summer solstice traditions in many cultures and countries including Austria, Estonia, Denmark, Russia, and Spain. Some believe that the fire wards off witches and evil spirits. A beach or backyard bonfire is a great way to enjoy some summer fun while giving a nod to these traditions. Or you could head to a campground and spend the evening making s’mores and – when the sun eventually goes down – doing some stargazing. If a bonfire’s out of the question, be sure to include some sparklers in your party instead!
Set up a flower crown station. Another ancient solstice tradition is the wearing of wreaths and garlands. In Sweden, people still don flower crowns and dance around a maypole. To make this a fun and memorable activity for your guests, set up a corner where they can pick and choose flowers, herbs, and greenery and craft their own flower crowns or wreaths. Not only is it a unique, interactive entertainment, it also allows them to take something home.
Bring the indoors out. By its very nature, a summer solstice party should be held outdoors. The location isn’t important. For example, it could be a garden, beach, park, balcony, deck, or rooftop. The size doesn’t matter, as long as you can enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and nature around you. But just because you’re outdoors doesn’t mean you need to be uncomfortable. Set up plus indoor furnishings like couches and chairs, or scatter oversize pillows and blankets for people to sit on. Not only will you create a cozy space where guests can make themselves at home, it also looks fabulous. There’s a reason why the lounge areas at outdoor weddings are always so popular!
Serve a Scandinavian feast. Another tradition you can borrow from Scandinavian countries, Sweden in particular, is gathering with loved ones to enjoy a long, relaxed meal. So why not serve a smorgasbord of Scandi-inspired treats? Think smoked salmon or mackerel on toasts, meatballs, flatbreads, new potatoes, and strawberry cake for dessert. And don’t forget some aquavit (or just a few strong cocktails) for the adults!
Backyard BBQ. Sometimes the best way to throw a summer party is just to fall back on an old classic. A cookout is a great way to kick off the season, complete with all the favorites like burgers, lemonade, and splashing around in the pool or sprinklers.
Here’s to a long summer season ahead, full of sunshine and fun!