Litha is the Celebration of the Summer Solstice also known as Midsummer. This year we celebrate from June 18th-June 20th. The Summer Solstice is the opposite of Yule and is (June 20, 2021) the longest day of year... well the longest day where the light is out. It’s a celebration of the light, of fertile ground and growing plants.
The practice and traditions of Litha are found in many cultures, the most ancient of these traditions all seem to celebrate the Summer Solstice in some form. History tells of battle between the light and dark. The Oak King which is represented by light rules from Yule until the Summer Solstice, however at Litha the Holly King wins the battle and the days will start getting darker and darker until Yule when the cycle starts again.
What are some things to do during Litha? Litha celebrations are usually outside, Soaking up the sunlight with meditation, romance and time with loved ones. In the evenings the celebrations carry on into the night surrounded by a bon fire.
So how can be celebrate Litha at home? You have feast on fresh fruits and in season vegetables. Harvest herbs or make flower crowns. Get your body moving, go out for a walk and see what is blooming, what you hear and what you smell. Connect with nature during this time of abundance.
Other ways to celebrate: The summer solstice is a traditional time for weddings and relationship commitments. You can host a garden party, share plants and herbs that your garden has been blessed with.
Other quick tidbits for Litha:
Colors: Green, Gold and Purple
Foods: Honey, Strawberry, Elderberry, Fresh Greens
Stones: Peridot, Emerald, Diamond, Lapis Lazuli
Flowers and plants: Oak, Elderflower, Lavender, Pine, Rose
Herbs: Fennel, Mugwort, St John’s Wort
Deities: Aphrodite, Freya, Ra, Zeus, Thor
Folklore: Bonfires were once lit to keep evil spirits away. This tradition was referred to as “Setting the Watch”. It was said that if you could jump over this bonfire without burning you or your clothing you would be granted good luck for the coming year. The ashes from these bonfires would be used to make protection jewelry, or spread into the garden earth to bring on fertile grounds and abundant crops.
Elderflower and Rose Cordial
3-4 Cups Fresh Elderflowers
1 Cup Rose Petals
2 Lemons (peeled and juiced)
Honey 750g sugar
25g Citric Acid
4 L Water (hot not boiling)
Place Elderflowers and Rose Petals into your jar (4L)
Add Honey, Citric Acid, Lemon Rinds and Juice and the warm to hot water to the jar. You want your water to be hot enough to mix with the honey.
Let this sit for a few hours (up to 24) then strain and bottle and keep in the refrigerator.
Add this Cordial to sparkling water or a boil it down for a simple syrup.
Strawberry and Fennel Salad
6-10 Strawberries, sliced
1 medium Fennel, sliced thinly
1 Cucumber, sliced into rounds
¼ Cup Chopped walnuts or pecans
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Lemon, juiced and zested
Add sliced Strawberries, Fennel and Cucumber to a bowl
In a separate bowl combined dressing ingredients and whisk to combine
Drizzle dressing over salad and serve chilled.