indicatorAlberta Lifestyle

How to celebrate the summer solstice in Alberta for under $50

By ATB Financial 30 October 2018 2 min read

Summer solstice is the longest day of the year. It’s also a worthy cause for celebration—especially for Albertans hovering around the 50th parallel. Our long summer days define northern culture just as much as our long winter nights. This year, the solstice falls on June 21, and depending on where you live in Alberta, you’ll enjoy between 16 and 20 hours of daylight.

People have been gathering to feast, dance and celebrate the summer solstice (also known as “midsummer” in places where summer starts earlier than it does in Western Canada) for thousands of years.

Why not introduce your kids to this cosmically significant holiday? (They’ll love the excuse to stay up past their bedtime.) Here’s how to do it without having to break into their piggy banks.



Go natural


Make wreaths of flowers

For people in Sweden and other parts of Europe, midsummer is a perfect excuse to make wreaths of flowers—both to wear as crowns and to decorate their houses. ($0 if you use the plants in your own backyard, plus $8–$10 for floral tape and wire)



Bonfires are one of the most common ways the summer solstice is celebrated in countries around the world. ($30–$45 for a small load of firewood, $0 if you’ve been pruning trees and have dry branches lying around)


Party on


Dancing is another traditional way to celebrate the longest day and shortest night. Make a playlist and get your kids involved—this might be as good a time as any to introduce them to your favourite ’80s jams. ($0, plus the price you put on your parental dignity)



Fireworks, though forbidden in residential areas by most city bylaws, are a common way to honour the solstice sun in Portugal and other countries. Approximate the effect with sparklers and teach your kids to write their names in the air. ($2 at almost any dollar store)



Feast on sun-themed, kid-friendly food—like pizza. It’s round and hot, after all. ($40 for two large pizzas, including a tip for the delivery person; or around $25 if you go the grocery-store route)


Enjoy the outdoors

Outdoor swimming

Outdoor swimming. Whether you meander down to your local outdoor pool, or pack the whole family up to go to the lake, swimming outdoors is another old summer-solstice tradition. ($20–$30 for family admission to the pool)



Engage with your community


Engage with your community

June 21 isn’t just summer solstice, it’s also National Indigenous Peoples Day (or National Aboriginal Day) in Canada. For Indigenous and non-Indigenous Albertans alike, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the history of local Indigenous peoples, recognize our roles and responsibilities as treaty members and learn about the significance of the summer solstice in Indigenous communities.

Check out the events below or find a public gathering or powwow in your own community. ($0 for most public events, but check your local event for specific information)

Family Day Festival and Powwow (June 23, Calgary)
St. Albert National Aboriginal Day Festival (June 24, St. Albert)
Red Deer Native Friendship Society National Aboriginal Day Conference, powwow and pipe ceremonies open to the public (Red Deer, June 21 and 22)
However you decide to celebrate summer solstice, ATB TrackIt can help you stay within your budget

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