How to celebrate midsummer night in the city?

How to celebrate midsummer night in the city?

The longest day and the shortest night of the year has arrived, Ladies and Gentlemen! Or did it happen already?… Precisely speaking on 21th June. But if you’ve had to wait for the weekend to celebrate midsummer (like me), no worries!

 

You can celebrate midsummer from 19th to 25th June, because the date varies from culture to culture. Even though the actual astronomical solstice is behind us, the party is just about to start! But wait… are you still in the city? Not a problem. I’m sure it’s the same case for a lot of people. Let’s gather some ideas, how to celebrate Summer Solstice in the city then!

 

1.Find some nature

One square meter of grass. A tree. A lonely sparrow on your windowsill. Midsummer is meant to be experienced on the countryside or wherever close to the nature. But usually even in big cities the situation is not that bad.

Take a blanket, go to that beautiful park and have a picnic. Go visit the the lake or the river, that flows through your city (you can have a lot of fun there, see point 3!). Go for a walk to visit that meadow just outside your city. Look at the green, relax.

And if you don’t have the possibility to touch even a blade of grass – observe the sky. It’s soothing and makes your thoughts wander where they usually don’t go. For me it always brings the thought of how amazing is it, that I am able comprehend that, look at the azure, be a human being on earth, not a stone, not a koala bear, live and have as many life scenarios in front of me as I can imagine. Remembering this makes me so much happier.

So go witness some nature, breathe in, you’re a person on planet Earth so we’ve got plenty of oxygen. Catch a perspective and be happier.

2.Burn some fire

Again, Midsummer is a fire festival, just like Beltane. In my post about Beltane, I explained the purpose of fire festivals. The time around summer solstice is characterised by the widest celebration across the globe. According to an anonymous medieval writer, mentioned by sir James Frazer in his book, The Golden Bough, midsummer festivals have 3 great features:

  • bonfires,
  • procession with torches around the fields,
  • rolling a wheel.

He writes about two intriguing things here: that the custom of rolling the wheel expresses the descent of the sun, that have reached its highest point of the journey and now goes down on the “heavenly road across the celestial vault” (gotta love his poetic extraness).

The second thing is a peculiar custom of burning bones and filth of various kinds to make smelly smoke. The smoke scares away obnoxious dragons, so excited by summer heat, that they copulated in the air and poisoned the rivers and wells with their seed.

You know what? Good. Glad, that I learnt this. Because I’m already pretty gosh darn sick and tired of those dragons coming to my wells, doing nasty things and leaving me with my water poisoned! That will show them!!!

Anyway, if you can’t have a bonfire, a candle will do. Its flame is supposed to imitate sun and destroy all harmful influences possibly surrounding you.

3.Make a garland like a Pole

The custom of making garlands and flower wreaths on midsummer night is widespread. In Slavic culture it initiates an important ritual. Remember, when we’ve talked about that river? If you’re a young, gracious single lass – it’s time to pack your garland, your girlfriends and go to the river bank. The game here is to throw your garland to the water and it will tell you your romantic future:

  • if it drowns – you die or become and old maid (old unmarried woman), which meant basically the same a few years ago,
  • if it floated away – you will have to wait a long time for getting married,
  • if it touched the other garland – you will find a new girlfriend,
  • if somebody caught it – it’s destiny, this is your future husband.

You can also try to find a blossoming fern. Legends said, that it will bless the finder with wealth, health and love. Noone has ever found it but taking into account that this quest takes place in the night, in the woods, most probably with the girl, whose garland you’ve fished out… I think it’s not necessarily about finding anything.

I’m fortunate enough to be able to flee from the city to my parents’ garden. Here, make a garland!

4.Eat herrings like a Swede

This festival is all about food and drinks and the ultimate masters of midsummer party are Scandinavians. In Sweden they serve herrings with new potatoes for dinner, strawberry cake for dessert, in the evening you can try all kinds of grilled goodies. In Norway rules the Scandinavian Ring Cake, in Denmark – all kinds of sandwiches with salmon and seafood, in Finland – blueberry milk, in Iceland – rhubarb delicacies. (All the recipes to be found here).

Herring. ❤

Now it’s time to eat something delicious, have a beer – and we’re good for the day.

 

Happy Summer Solstice, everybody!

2 Replies to “How to celebrate midsummer night in the city?”

  1. Dear Michalina, I did not really know all these details about the midsummer night , and thank you for posting , how can we do this even if we aren’t close to nature!
    I definitely loved the photos you took ❤️ thanks for the and clarify some doubts! I hope you enjoy !

    http://www.eluveitiebrasil.com

  2. So cool!! I didn’t know half of it.

    What we do in my regio (northwest of Spain) is also related to fire and to water as well. We call this festivity San Juan and usually if you are close to a beach you gather with your friends/family, make a bonfire in the sand and have a nice time in there, with food and drinks. Same with rivers and lakes but if there is no water it’s also common to make a bonfire.
    The fire is the most important thing because it purifies and burns the bad, and it symbolizes two different things: to purify the sins of people and to worship the sun. It’s also a tradition to jump the bonfire 9 times because tradition tells us that the wishes we ask during this ritual can be fulfilled. Water is also important, some people get into the sea and jump 7 waves because they believe that it ensures health for the whole year. In some cities this is one of the biggest festivity of the year, and it’s one of my personal favourites!!

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