Happy solstice!

Yay, the longest day of the year! I love Litha, and that it’s in the weekend is very fortunate (though I usually celebrate sabbats in the weekend). I’ve got some wonderful things planned, cause now I actually have time on the solstice itself!

For me, most important is being outdoors as long as possible during midsummer. It won’t be nice weather, but I hope it at least stays dry. Or that it only starts raining when I’m back and can enjoy the rainfall from inside or from our balcony rather than from my bike. I would have planned to go walking during Litha, but coincidentally we (colleagues and I) are celebrating the end of the school year. And we’re going rowing! I think the last time I was in a canoe was when I was 11 or something like that, during a very rainy vacation near the Loire (France). My mother and brother went to the middle of the river, decided it was too scary and went back, but my dad and I had the best time! So I’m really looking forward to canoeing again with friends. It’s bound to be hilarious… and difficult, probably.

Going on the water tomorrow and remembering the rainy vacation in France really made me wonder about Litha symbolism. I mainly celebrate the warmth of the sun, using yellows, reds and oranges on my altar. But earlier this week I saw a video by Pagyptian, one of the people I follow on YouTube, about Litha and water, as opposed to fire. It really made me think, so I’d like to share it with you.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? We need the balance of water to keep the fire from burning us. And thinking of summer activities, going to the beach is probably one of the most prominent ones. I was inspired, so my altar now has reds and yellows, but also some sea shells 🙂 I’m also making a sun out of red and yellow paper and skewers. It’s currently drying, but when it’s finished and turned out well, I’ll make a post on how to make it. I really like the effect the skewers give as sunrays.

As always, food is a rather large part of my celebration. I had planned to try and make small pineapple upside down cakes, but my pineapple isn’t ripe yet. So I’ll make banana bread and a mango-nectarine salad (love soft summer fruits!). I’ve got cherries as well 🙂 Bottom line is that I’ll be eating wonderfully sweet fruits all day an that I’ll be enjoying the longest day! What do you have planned for midsummer?

 

Lammas: A festival of fire

During the Olympic Games, I kept hearing the same song, since it was used by the national television under images of Olympic athletes. “Sky on fire” by Handsome Poets, you can listen to it here

Yesterday I couldn’t get it out of my head. Every minute I’d start singing again: Let’s start a fire, a fire! Coincidentally, my fiancée and I had decided to spend the evening in Scheveningen for his birthday, so we could watch the final two shows of the international firework festival. I had never been there before and frankly, I was amazed! I have not celebrated Lammas this year… but yesterday certainly felt like a Lammas celebration with many, many people. 150.000 people were at Scheveningen, most of them sitting on the sand looking at the sunset, waiting for the firework spectacle.

But that was not all! In the spirit of fire, several artists held a performance with fire. From Belgium came The World of Pyro, two guys who spun around with fire, ate fire and spat fire, all with the setting sun in the background. Impressed as I was, I felt myself calm down, looking at the spinning fire…

Then, at 21.45, came the first show of fireworks by the Netherlands. There was barely any room left on the sand, with all the spectators sitting down. The sun hadn’t quite set, so the sky was filled with pale yellow, orange and pink. And then with red, white and blue as the Netherlands started their show. It was fired from a flat boat floating in sea. The sound came quite a bit later than the light, which was weird.
The Spanish show was even more spectacular. Because it was at 22.30, it was much darker already, so the fireworks looked better as well. My boyfriend and I both fell silent (though unfortunately not everybody felt that way). Enjoy and be amazed!

It was a great day, in the spirit of fire as Lammas is one of the fire festivals. A day of abundance as well, eating all kind of goods for my fiancée’s birthday, and going out for dinner. My way of celebrating Lammas. I will certainly go there again next year… you are welcome to join me and the some 150.000 people in this great feast!