Litha is coming which means it's almost summer! This year's it's on Friday 21st June. I'd say from June to August is my favourite time of year, since summer is my favourite season. So I'm looking forward to the official start!
Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's almost Yule and winter, so you may like these posts:
Yule Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/12/yule-celebration-ideas.html
Celebrating Yule + Christmas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/12/celebrating-yulechristmas.html
My Winter Round-up + Inspiration post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/12/winter-round-up-inspiration.html
One Infinite Life (Australia based) post on making the most of winter (updated for 2019): https://oneinfinitelife.com/how-to-make-the-most-of-winter/
In 2017 I did a post with some Litha/Midsummer celebration ideas and last year I wrote about celebrating both Litha and summer. You can read them at the links below:
Litha/Midsummer Celebration Ideas (also a baking post): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/06/baking-no-yeast-dinner-rolls-and.html
Celebrating Litha + Summer: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/06/celebrating-litha-summer.html
For 2019 I thought I'd do another post with some Litha inspiration. :)
Update 19/6/19: I came across this article with information about both the Summer and Winter Solstices, so it has info for both hemispheres. :) Check it out here: http://www.nataliakuna.com/solstice-energy--spiritual-meaning.html
Litha, also known as Midsummer and the Summer Solstice, is the official start of summer. Although as I said in last year's post on getting ready for summer, the meteorological start of summer is 1st June. Litha is the proper start of summer on the Wheel of the Year, though Beltane (on 30th April/1st May) is transitional and marks the beginning of the summer season. The dates varies each year but it's always around 21st June.
Since Yule (aka Midwinter/the Winter Solstice) in December the days have been growing longer and the nights shorter. This became more noticeable after Oestea/Ostara aka the Spring Equinox in March. Litha is the longest day and shortest night, and from then on the cycle will reverse until next Yule. Sunrise is currently around 4.46am and sunset around 9.17pm here in the UK (my local time). Solstice means "Sun stands still" and summer solstice is specifically the time when the North Pole tilts furthest towards the sun (compared to Yule when it tilts furthest away), and this year it takes place at 4.54pm BST (11.54am EDT). To find the time in your country visit this link: https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/summer-solstice.html
On Litha we will have around 16 hours, 38 minutes of daylight in the UK, compared to 7 hours, 49 mins last Yule/Winter Solstice. It does vary depending on your area, e.g. Scotland will have 17 hours, 36 minutes then since they're further north, so check your local time here if you're interested: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/
In the Arctic Circle they have 24 hours, since the sun never really sets. This process is reversed in the Southern Hemisphere where it's coming up to the Winter Solstice and the days will start gradually getting longer again. I feel "lighter" in the spring and summer months and like the increased light. It's kind of sad to think how the light will already start to "wane" after this point, but there's still the whole of summer left!
Litha is a fire festival and a celebration of light and the sun because it's the time when the solar energy is at its peak. Yule celebrates the return of the light, while Litha celebrates its height.
Here are some posts with Litha inspiration:
I like Suzy's Homemaker's (The Witch at One and Seventy) suggestion of walking with intention (4th link). I can try that on my weekly park walk.
Vegan Magick Kitchen post on getting ready for Litha: https://www.vegankitchenmagick.com/getting-ready-for-litha-summer-solstice/
This post has good ideas about celebrating 12 Days of Summer (the days leading up to Litha). I know there's only 4 days left until the Summer Solstice now but still thought it would be good to share:
Update 13/6/21: I can't find the above post anymore.
Spirit work for Litha: http://www.flyingthehedge.com/2019/06/spirit-work-for-litha.html
I like No. 1. Seeking spiritual guidance by interpreting your dreams. I sometimes do dream work and go through periods of writing down my dreams but I haven't for a while. Maybe it's time to get back to it.
Tess Whitehurst post about celebrating your light and healing: https://tesswhitehurst.com/celebrating-your-light-and-healing-deeply-at-the-summer-solstice/
Ideas for celebrating with food and drink
I usually celebrate by having salad and lemonade. I often make "Hello Kitty lemonade" (the recipe is from a Hello Kitty book!) but this year I think I'll buy some for a change. I can always make the Hello Kitty one later this summer. Find the recipe here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2013/08/summer-drinks.html
For Litha 2016 I made lemonade using a recipe from the book The Real Witches Kitchen by Kate West, but I found that quite bitter.
As for the salad, for the past few years I've made a tomato and onion one from The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya. See a picture here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2016/07/litha-2016.html
I'll have it for my lunch with other stuff like bought salad, chicken, or a sandwich and crisps. (Haven't decided yet). Last year I ate it with avocado and bacon. At Beltane I made Kachumbari (a Kenyan tomato and onion salad) which would be good for Litha as well.
Guacamole is another idea. I usually make for that Beltane but would also be nice for Litha. My favourite recipe is one from The Kitchen Witch but for this Beltane I made another one from Don't Waste the Crumbs which was also nice. The Kitchen Witch recipe isn't online but here's a similar one from Nigella Lawson's site (not actually her recipe): https://www.nigella.com/recipes/members/kerriberrys-guacamole-avocado-dip
And you can find the Don't Waste the Crumbs recipe here: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2018/03/simple-guacamole-recipe/
I have now made the potato salad I mentioned in last year's Litha celebration post! It was nice, you can see a pic in the May Update: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/05/may-update.html
In past years I've also had ice cream with crumbled up digestive biscuits on top (idea from The Real Witches Kitchen). In 2014 I made Funfetti cake batter "no-churn" ice cream and had that. For Litha 2017 I made rice pudding and did that last year as well. There's a recipe in the Llewellyn's 2017 Sabbats Almanac but I tend to use the recipe off the back of the pudding rice packet because it's simpler! I'm planning to make rice pudding this Litha as well.
If you like baking you could always make a cake or some biscuits/cookies. Last year I baked some ginger biscuits just before Litha.
More ideas for celebrating
Other things I like to do are light a candle and take sunset pictures. Orange, yellow and gold are good coloured candles to use since they're all "sun type" colours but white is fine too. If I can't get hold of orange or yellow I just use white. You might also like to light a bonfire (but make sure you do it in a safe place and follow fire safety regulations!).
I like going to the beach or the country to take photos at sunset (although I tend to do this more for sabbats during the warmer months of the year!). It's nice if you go to a particular place throughout different seasons and note how it changes. This year I want to go to my favourite nature reserve on a hill. Going to the beach is also a good activity on Litha; you could go during the day, at sunset, or sunrise if you're a morning person! I'm more of an afternoon/evening person but it would be cool to watch the sunrise in nature on the longest day of the year. Many people will be going to Stonehenge to do that. I'd like to see Stonehenge but not on the Summer Solstice, since the crowds would be too much for me!
Hope that's given you lots of inspiration for this Litha! It doesn't seem like it's nearly summer at the moment, lol. It's been chilly for June, around 14 degrees Celsius (around 57 Fahrenheit) which is cold considering it can be in the 20s, and two years ago it was 29 degrees! Today it's warmed up a bit at 19 degrees (about 66F).
I will do a post about my Litha next week and then the June update after that. How do you usually celebrate? Happy Litha! :)
Photo: Buckingham Park, Shoreham-by-sea. Moonsparkle 2019.