Wheel of the year

What is Litha

Litha is one of the Pagan holidays celebrated on the wheel of the year. It is also known as the summer solstice or midsummer. In this post, we look at the history of Litha, the symbols of the holiday, and how that relates to our celebrations today. 

The history of Litha

Litha is all about celebrating the sun for its warmth and all it has given us over the last few months. The summer solstice is the shortest night of the year. From this night the sun sets a little earlier each night until we reach the winter solstice when the longest night of the year occurs.

People celebrated Litha by lighting bonfires. They believed that the fires would send strength to the sun gods to help them through the colder months so that they could return once more. 

It is a time to celebrate all the hard work put into planting the crops. It is also a time to rest before the harvest season starts. A time to thank the sun and the earth for all that we have. 

Litha today

We are still thanking the sun for the light and warmth that it gives us. We know that darker times are on the way but without darkness, there would be no light. So we understand how lucky we are to have the sun in the sky and the earth to live on. It is a happy celebration where summer is upon us and nature is alive and thriving. 

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Symbols of Litha

Fire

Fire of course represents the sun. Bonfires are traditional ways to celebrate but if you do not have space for a big bonfire, a fire pit works just the same. For those with no access to outside space, lighting candles can be just as effective. 

Wheels

Wheels would represent the sun in ancient times. There was a time when wheels would sometimes be set alight and then rolled down a hill into a stream on Litha. Today decorating with wheels would be an easy way to incorporate them into your celebrations.  

Bees

Bees are often associated with the sun and this may be in part due to them using the sun to navigate. They are always seen in the summer months flying from flower to flower. Doing your bit to help the bees can be a great way to honour Litha especially in recent years where there has been a real push on ‘saving the bees‘. 

Honey

Honey of course links in with the bees. Baking with honey and leaving some as offerings is great for Litha. 

Fruit

Fruit is a symbol of Litha as fruit stores energy from the sun in photosynthesis. Bake with fruit or simply eat fresh fruit to honour the day.

Flowers

Hand-gathered flowers from your garden or the wild (if you are allowed to pick them) make fantastic decorations and are a symbol of Litha. 

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I hope that you have found this short guide to Litha useful. For more information, check out the dedicated Litha page

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