10 Ways To Celebrate The Summer Solstice

This year, June 21 — that's this Sunday! — is a big day. Not only is it Father's Day, but it's also the 2015 Summer Solstice. It's the longest day of the year, which means that it's also a great excuse to get outside and get a little witchy with it. Derived from the latin word solstitium, which literally means "sun stands still," the Solstice traditionally marks the beginning of summer and has been celebrated by cultures across the world for thousands of years. Known as "Midsummer" by farmers, as it marked the end of their planting season, and "Litha" to Wiccans, the Solstice is, to say the least, a big deal. So why not find a few fun ways to celebrate it?

Personally, the Solstice is a day in which I spend as much time outside as possible, surrounded by people (and animals) that I love. The Solstice represents a time of abundance and beauty, and I like to extend that past its literal reference to crops. Summer will always be a magical time for me, regardless of how old I get.

Since it does coincide with Father's Day, a 24-hour Solstice celebration is probably not a feasible option this year; however, you can definitely fit in at least a few of these sun-filled activities (maybe with your father figure of choice in tow). I don't know about you, but I will definitely be snackin' on some poptails and rocking a flower crown.

1. Welcome the sunrise with some sun salutations.

As someone whose muscles are never not crazy tight, sun salutations loosen me up for the day ahead — and since it's about to be the longest day of the year, we can all benefit from a few. Doing them while the sun rises just promotes good vibes, you know?

2. Brew some brunch-ready sun tea.

Sun tea harnesses the sun's power to create a truly delicious beverage, and since the Solstice marks the astrological move into Cancer (a water sign), it's the perfect marriage of both events. Fill a glass container with at least five tea bags, four cups of cold, distilled water and any additional herbs, like mint or ginger. Cover the containerand leave in the direct sun for two to four hours. Boom — sun tea!

3. Meditate outside.

Even taking ten minutes daily to breathe deeply and clear your mind can have health benefits. On the Solstice, take your meditation outside. Turn off your cellphone and focus on the sounds around you. Breathe with them. Feel the sun.

4. Create a sunwheel.

Make a large wreath with flowers, branches, moss, or anything else you can find outside. Have people tie handwritten wishes onto it over the course of the day; use it as a centerpiece for your potluck (see below!); and once the day is done, place it on the bonfire and send those hopeful vibes into the universe.

5. Fashion a flower crown.

Solstice celebrations have traditionally included costumes. While you probably don't want this to become a second Halloween, flower crowns are super easy to create and make the perfect accessory for a day all about nature.

6. Start a dance party.

Or a jam session, if you have musically-talented friends. Creating beauty communally is the main goal here.

7. Do some tie-dye with natural dyes.

Summer tie-dye is my favorite craft because it's one that pretty much necessitates being outside, involves beautiful bright colors, and results in more clothes for me. For your Solstice celebration, though, use natural ingredients for your tie-dye like strawberries, blueberries, and turmeric.

8. Make (and eat copious amounts of) boozy popsicles.

No Solstice celebration is complete without at least a little debauchery. "Poptails" will cool you off and get you tipsy after a day in the sun. Because literally nothing is better than alcoholic popsicles.

9. Host a potluck.

Summer is traditionally a time of abundance and community, and a potluck dinner is the perfect way to honor both of those elements. Challenge your guests to include at least one local ingredient in their dish! It'll force them to get a little creative and yield some truly delicious creations.

10. Send off the sun with a bonfire.

Watch the sun set with your friends and family, and then keep the light going with a bonfire. Roast marshmallows, tell stories, drink, dance, and celebrate the official start of summer.

Images: Liam Moloney, Tribesports, krembo1, rachel, Lizzie Johnston, Maegan Tintari, Faylyne, Moyen Brenn, Rowena Waack, Annie/Flickr