Ah, the summer solstice. The longest day of the year, when daylight reigns over night. After this day, the nights will begin to grow longer again until reaching their zenith in December. The summer solstice is a major day of celebration in pagan cultures and we know it was considered especially important in ancient times.
My degree is in Art History and although my research focus was on World War I, I was always fascinated by the many ancient sites around the world which align with the Summer Solstice in some way. The most famous of these, of course, is Stonehenge in England. I hope to make it to Stonehenge one day for the Solstice festivities!
In the meantime, I continue to have my own solitary summer solstice rituals at home. This year, I’m feeling really drawn to honey. Local honey is known to help abate allergies, although my own seasonal allergies have always proven too intense to be treated by this simple remedy. When I was a kid, my dad kept bees, and I learned how incredible these little creatures are. (And that there is nothing more delicious than fresh honeycomb!)
Honey is often associated with the summer solstice as it is linked with abundance, productivity and joy, all feelings we hope to experience at this time of year when the sun is high in the sky.
Where I live, charcuterie (trays of meat, cheese and other snacks) are common appetizers at restaurants and parties. Really good charcuterie often includes honeycomb, so that’s the inspiration for this little ritual!
Tools and Supplies Needed
- Assorted sliced meats, such as salami and mortadella
- Assorted hard and soft cheeses, such as parmesan, brie and goat
- Olives, pickles and dried apricots
- Water crackers or sliced baguettes
- Pate, if you’re feeling really fancy
- Fresh local honeycomb
- Chilled sauvignon blanc
- Wooden cutting board
- Knives and spoons for the various cheeses, etc
Lay out all of the food on the cutting board, arranging it in an attractive manner. Place the olives, etc, in small bowls and set knives beside each cheese and the honeycomb. Set up your charcuterie outside preferably, on a patio or balcony.
Invite friends to partake with you and pour a glass of wine for each of them. Before you eat, give a toast such as: To the longest day of the year.
Enjoy good food, good wine and good company in celebration of the solstice!
How will you be celebrating Litha this year?