The 21st June marks half-way through the year: The Summer Solstice. Today is a special event where we celebrate the longest day and shortest night of the year – celebrations are popular around the world and long-standing traditions help to mark the day. We are at our peak: flowers are in bloom, crops are either yielding fruit and vegetables already or are well set to provide food throughout the harvest, and the days are long enough for us to work hard and have some fun. Of course, the middle of the year does remind us that the longer nights are coming; the days will gradually grow shorter and Christmas will be with us before we know it!
As with many occasions throughout the year, the Summer Solstice is said to have a wealth of superstition surrounding it. Here are some of our favourites!
- Jumping over a bonfire brings you good luck, and to be blackened by the fire is considered very fortuitous (though we definitely wouldn’t advise this one – got to think of Health and Safety!).
- Using a Midsummer bonfire’s ashes will keep you safe and help your garden to bloom.
- You can find the true nature of your lover’s affections by observing a sprig of orpine – leaning to the right means you are fated to last an eternity; to the left – utter doom.
- You should wear protective garlands of flowers and herbs to ward off any evil spirits.
- Good fortune can come of leaving offerings of fruit outside for bees, birds, and summer fairies.
- Following ley lines will rescue you from fairies should you get into any trouble.
- Hazel branches cut on Solstice eve to be used in searching for gold, water, and precious jewels.
- Your odds of creating lifestyle changes that last are highest today – so get renewing and revising those resolutions made at New Year!
Last but not least, why not try a recipe to really bring the day alive!
- 225g butter
- 250g honey
- 100g dark muscovado sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 300g self-raising flour
Cut the butter into pieces and heat slowly, adding the honey and the sugar. When fully melted, turn up the heart and boil the mixture for one minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Add the beaten eggs to the cooled honey mixture. Sift the flour into a large bowl and beat the liquid honey mixture into it until you have a smooth batter.
Pour the mixture into a round lined sponge tin and bake in a preheated oven at 160C for about 50 mins – or until the cake is well-risen and springs back to the touch.
Cool on a rack and glaze with a few tablespoons of warm honey.
Enjoy the day 🙂