In ancient times the Summer Solstice, or longest day of the year was a significant religious festival. It marked the beginning of Summer, a time of regeneration and growth. Specially constructed “caverns” dating back thousands of years have been found in New Grange, Ireland that are aligned with the Sun and were used to celebrate the longest day of the year.
It is not suggested that you build a whole new structure to celebrate the Summer Solstice but it is certainly worth having a party. The party does not have to be held exactly on the longest day of the year. a day or two either way won’t make any difference. The party you plan should have plenty of guests, prepared to indulge in a bit of fantasy and fun.
As with all parties start by sending an invitation that clearly states it is a Summer Solstice party The evening will be bright right up to 11 or 12 PM depending on where you live so you can start a little later than usual. Why not start at 10pm and have a midnight meal.
Decorations for the party should focus on the “mystical” side of the party. Plenty of torches, lanterns and white Christmas lights should be used to decorate the trees and shrubbery. If there is a pool or fountain in the garden make sure you use floating candles. It will add greatly to the atmosphere. If you really wanted to go the whole way then build a bonfire. However before doing so make sure you check the safety and fire regulations for your area.
As you can gather this party is not for small indoor spaces so you may also need some sound amplifiers to “pipe” mellow and mystical music throughout the garden. Remember you are celebrating an ancient festival so something from the top of the charts will not be appropriate.
Getting people to mingle and into a party frame of mind is always something a good host will ensure happens. So before the party get some plain index cards and with a scissors cut the cards in halve, but not in a straight line. make sure the cards are halved in irregular patterns.
As guests arrive ask them to write their name on a “halved” card. They then have to find the other guest with the matching half and introduce themselves. There are many games and tricks that can be used to get people to mingle and chat but the golden rule is “Keep it simple”
At a Summer Solstice party the eating arrangements should not be formal. The menu should be planned around casual dinning and ease of serving Asking people to eat steak whilst sitting on a cushion around a bonfire is not an option. You will need to choose easy to eat salads and side dishes.
Also forget about using the best crystal glasses. Try and use tankards and mugs. Something that looks a little less chic and urban. Remember we are celebrating an ancient festival so a nice mulled wine or punch is perfect.
When you are sending the invitations make sure you ask guests to arrive in informal attire. The success of this party will depend on your ability to get people to forget about the fast and stressful lifestyles we lead today and relax in a more mellow and chilled setting.
As guests are leaving why not present them with a party bag filled with ash. Apparently it is a symbol of good luck.