June 21 is the summer solstice and we think it’s a great reason to celebrate! It’s the longest day of the year - so more party time, and from the earliest records, our ancestors felt that the summer solstice was a significant event so we’re following in a long tradition. Of course for some people it is also a religious date, so it’s sensible to be aware that Druids, for example, see it as a vital part of their spiritual practice.

Ways to celebrate June 21

A fancy dress party is a always fun - you can invite your guests to interpret the theme any way they like, so you might find that some come as tennis players (Wimbledon) whilst others opt for that Druid and virgin theme and still others think about the Queen’s Official birthday and show up as Beefeaters. You might find some people think of exams and turn up dressed as school kids, whilst others are focused on their summer holidays. By leaving it open to your invitees to decide what they think of as ‘June Fancy Dress’ you will find all kinds of clever ideas and it’s a real ice-breaker to get your guests to explain to each other why they chose to come dressed as they did.

June party games

Maypole dancing - yes, it’s a solstice thing! Get the men to rig up a maypole and print out some instructions, then play some jolly music and see how you get on … it should be good for a laugh.

Summer bonfires

Traditionally the summer solstice was celebrated with a huge bonfire because dangerous spirits were said to roam freely at midsummer and the fire kept them away. A bonfire is a fantastic way to cook some great food too. Forget the baked potatoes and sausages and opt for some great summer bonfire feasts such as:

Baked bananas

Slice gently through the skin and drip in a little honey, butter and liqueur - bake for thirty minutes and enjoy a boozy gooey pudding but we warned, they are red hot!

Prawn skewers

Cherry tomatoes, skewered prawns and cubed pineapple make delicious zingy kebabs that cook in a trice. Make a simple marinade of oil, lime juice and chopped fresh herbs to drizzle on the cooked skewers.

Roasted corn on the cob

Buy the corns in the green (with the leaves still on) and set them on the grill. Keep turning as the leaves char. Use fireproof gloves to peel back the leaves and sprinkle the cooked corn with salt, wrap the base of each corn cob in a cloth to ensure that your guests don’t burn their hands as they gnaw the hot and char-grilled kernels off the cob.