Litha is a Pagan holiday and is also known as Summer Solstice. Litha is usually celebrated on the 21st of June. This holiday takes place on the longest day of the year and is a time to honor the pregnant Goddess and the Sun God. It is also the time to celebrate the first harvest. Many times it is celebrated as the first day of summer, although many believe the first day of summer is on May 1st. Hence the reason Litha is also called Midsummer. Litha is associated with bonfires, harvests, handfastings and many other things including big feasts. There are many foods associated with this holiday.
Food is an important factor with any Pagan celebrations and rituals. Food is also important to Litha because it is time to start harvesting some of the crops that were planted during spring. Beverages that are consumed during this holiday include wine, tea, mead, sack and ale. The beverages are made with herbs such as sage, anise, mint, and fennel. Fruits are also used to make some teas and wines.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are traditional ingredients used while making midsummer foods. They are used in soups, breads, desserts and main dishes. Popular soup recipes include fresh herb soup, cold tomato soup and broccoli soup. Breads are eaten at all of the holiday celebrations. Zucchini and herb breads are a made fresh for Litha feasts. Bread is also used during solitary and coven rituals.
Main dishes usually include the use of chicken and fish. Fruits, vegetables and/or herbs are used to make main dishes along with everything else for the Midsummer feasts. Grilled fish is a common food during summer time. Baked and glazed chicken recipes are also popular. Vegetable pizza made on a potato crust is an interesting way of making pizza for this holiday.
The festivals and feasts of the Litha celebrations are not the only time where food is important. It is traditional to have cakes and wine/ale during the rituals that are performed during this time. The cakes are associated with the Goddess which is the feminine side. The wine is associated with the God or the masculine side. When consumed they represent the union of opposites. It is a custom, with covens, for the priest and priestess to perform the Ceremony of Cakes and Wine/Ale. A solitary witch can also perform the ceremony, but the ritual is a little different.