THE SEASON AHEAD
Fields Of Gold
Caught between the quick-footed liveliness of Spring and before the languid heat of later months, Midsummer is that heavenly period when the sun’s golden glimmer gives everything a touch of optimism. Warm afternoons see a return to pink sunsets, as evenings events spill onto pavements and into gardens.
The longer, light-filled days come with a sparkling energy, which we often celebrate in large numbers. Sprawling festivals see thousands join colourful festivities – from the Tibetan Buddhist holy month Saga Dawa (from 31 May), to cultural events such as Dragon Boat Festival (3 June), the time-honoured Chinese holiday, and Glastonbury (22-26 June), a performing-arts festival held on a spiritual site in the UK. And as social restrictions slowly ease, we’re revelling in what feels like new-found freedoms.
As the sun appears at its zenith on 21 June, it appears to stand still in the sky. This phenomenon is celebrated across the world. In Ottawa, Canada, on the traditional and unceded territories of the Algonquin peoples and their descendants, the city celebrates the start of summer with indigenous music, art and food. In India and other locations including New York’s Times Square, US, thousands commemorate by rising at dawn to complete 108 sun salutations towards the East on International Yoga Day.
According to Ayurvedic teachings, the summer solstice is when pitta, or fire, is at its height. This coincides with the switch to the yin half of the year in China, where the early summer is also characterised by the element of fire, reflecting the excitement and energy of the season ahead.
On the longest day of the year in the UK, Sacred Seeds Herbal Project, will be leading a Summer Solstice wild medicine walk in East Sussex. Talking through the medicinal and nutritional aspects of local plants like fragrant elderflower, naturopath Alice Bettany will finish the day with wild teas and tonics.
In Iran, the rural region of Kashan is filled with the heavenly scent of the Mohammadi rose as the Golabgiri Festival begins in late May, marking at least 700 years of rose water production in the community. In Bulgaria, thousands descend upon the blooming Rose Valley that lies south of the Balkan Mountains and the eastern part of the lower Sredna Gora. Rising at dawn to pick the petals, groups move from village to village to celebrate the month-long festival from 3 June. Joya Berrow and Lucy Jane’s poetic documentary, Every True Person of Kalofer Without Freedom Can’t Live, tells its inspirational story.
Midsummer has arrived in our Meadow Room. Explore a sunflower-filled space in the spirit of summer.
A flower-filled affair, the ancient Slavic ritual of Kupala Night is typically celebrated around 23–24 June or 6–7 July in honour of the god of fertility and harvest. Traditionally, floral wreaths are floated down the river and a search for magical herbs, specifically the fictional fern flower, is carried out.
In honour of these cultural traditions, our Midsummer Majesty Flower Jars celebrate this season’s messages of kinship, peace and togetherness – what we’re calling the Midsummer of Love – with a flurry of warm, sun-kissed shades of orange and fuchsia. We hope these bouquets and flower jars can be a gift of hope for our community.
Midsummer Majesty Flower Jar
Personal and collective growth is the subject of the Foresta Seasonal Academy’s online courses. Gentle Steps commences on the 10 June, and explores how to develop a more ecological mindset and create wellbeing, both human and more-than-human, in the context of your own cultural projects.
Soul Fire Farm in New York State is an Afro-Indigenous centred community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system. From cultivating fungi to wild-craft and bee-keeping, their five-day farming course takes place on 4–8 July. Common Farms in Hong Kong also holds farm workshops to teach food cultivation as a route to grow community.
Lighting the sky on 14 June, the Strawberry Moon is one of this season’s first celestial events. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the name was first used by the Algonquin, Ojibwe, Dakota and Lakota tribes, to mark the ripening of wild berries.
Exploring Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s deep connection and reverence for their ancestral lands, Bruno Serralongue’s exhibition <Water Protectors> opens on 4 July, as part of this year’s Rencontres...