Today is Summer Solstice. YAY!!! I’m a sun baby, so anything that celebrates more day than night; and the overall celebration of both internal light and external light, is right up my alley. I also totally love partaking in celebrations that are more obscure to me and my life. I like to go all out for these special days. And of course, this means food and beverage that are of proper tradition (or as close as I can get it).
As a the longest day of summer, there is tons of folk lore but almost all have two common elements-herbs and honey. It seems that this was often designated as the first gathering day of honey partially because this was a day to celebrate the earth’s bounty in many cultures and also because of its gold color which resembled the sun. Honey was drank straight, added to flower essence water, and/or transformed into mead.
The herbs play a front and center role with specific ones such as lavendar, fennel and chamomile, as well as cardamon. Though really that are bountifully growing right now are used in dishes and some used them ceremonially throwing them into traditional bonfires or leaving them scattered around. Almost all believed in their magical and/or medicinal powers and made ‘waters’ and teas with them to be consumed as a drink.
The specific foods used in specific ancient and modern day cultures for this celebration aren’t quite as clear. Anything that represents in the Sun in color seems to have been quite popular. Foods that represent the sun in both color and shape seemed even more prevelant-such as, cantaloupes, peaches, nectarines. Though also some foods that are just thought of as summer foods such as zucchini. Interestingly, Summer Solstice is still a very big deal in Sweden where they always without fail incorporate new potatoes and strawberries into their festivities.
So no matter what your spiritual beliefs or historical heritage, indulge a little in the great glory of the sun today. Make yourself some sun tea, pick some yellow flowers, eat a yellow summer squash; or maybe just stoke up a bonfire for good measure. No matter how you do it, enjoy the longest day of the year.