Summer Solstice, Wine Sister-Style
This Sunday, June 21, we’ll be celebrating two absolutely wonderful things: dads and the official start to summer. Here in wine country, summer brings hot days, cool nights, wine tastings on the patio, fresh food from the farmers’ market and a little time to relax before grape harvest.
People throughout history have recognized and celebrated summer solstice (aka. Midsummer) in a number of interesting ways:
- In ancient Greece, summer solstice marked the first day of the year and a 30-day countdown to the Olympic games.
- The ancient Chinese held ceremonies on the summer solstice to honor the earth, femininity and the force known as yin. The celebration complemented the winter solstice, which was devoted to the heavens, masculinity and yang.
- In the days leading up to the summer solstice, ancient Romans celebrated the Vestalia festival, which paid tribute to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth.
- Many Native American tribes took part in centuries-old midsummer rituals, some of which are still practiced today. The Sioux, for instance, performed a ceremonial sun dance around a tree while wearing symbolic colors.
(Read about more traditions from History.)
In Sweden, Midsummer’s Eve is one of the most important days of the year, with celebrations and traditions rivaling those of Christmas. A maypole is the focus of most of these celebrations, decorated with flowers and greenery. Once raised, folk dancing and games quickly follow, along with many toasts with Aquavit!
We were inspired by the Swedish Midsummer tradition of serving salmon, potatoes with dill, and fresh vegetables. So, this weekend we’re putting together a festive platter and pairing it with a cool glass of Girl & Dragon Pinot Grigio.
It’s also believed that gathering and weaving flowers into crowns was a way to harness nature’s magic to ensure good health throughout the year. We won’t argue with that!
Which is why we bring you some simple steps to creating your own flower crowns from our resident Wine Sister entertaining expert, Helen Jane Hearn:
Cheers to the official start of summer, Wine Sister!
How will you be celebrating this weekend? Share your plans with us in a comment below!