Monday, 25 October 2021
Gillie Sutherland Gillie Sutherland

Let’s celebrate our common ground in the warmth of the sun

Written by  Gillie Sutherland Jun 14, 2020

I was extremely excited to discover that “solstice” is the same word in Croatian as it is in English. Ok, there is a slight difference in the spelling, but when you say it out loud, it’s the same.

This is exciting for two reasons.

For one, it makes me feel that I’m one step (albeit a very small step) away from grasping the language here. I can use the word with confidence, without waiting for the look of amusement or bemusement I often get when I try out new Croatian words.

After “duga”, which means “rainbow”, “solstice” is my new favourite word.

I also love to discover things we have in common. In a world full of division and separation, it feels nice to find things we share, and can agree on.

The Summer Solstice seems the most fitting day for this. If we agree on nothing else, we have this one pretty significant fact: we share the same sun.

As the longest day of the year, throughout time, the Summer Solstice has been marked by festivals and rituals as the day we are fully awake, and our spirits are alive, as we are bathed in the energy of the sun.

The Vitamin D we receive from the sun is like our body’s own photosynthesis, it gives us the light, energy and nourishment to flourish, and is essential to our health and wellbeing. Celebrating the Summer Solstice is a way we say thank you to the sun.

Throughout time, cultures have been worshipping the sun, its presence is a phenomenon that there can be no disagreement on. Like the moon and the stars, the earth and the sky, we all experience it in the same way.

No matter what else in going on around us in the world, in our human experience, and our battles with each other, when we look to nature, we realise we are all in this together.

What a perfect opportunity to celebrate our “Global Connectedness”?

At a time when the planet most needs it, we have the chance to join together in a celebration of something that has remained constant throughout this whole ordeal – the sun.

I remember days throughout lockdown, whilst trying to adjust to my new life here, I would say to myself: “As long as the sun still rises tomorrow, I will be OK”.

I was OK, and we are all OK. We did it. We are just about through it, with the season about to begin, so it is time to celebrate!

One of the reasons I love being here in Molunat is how everyone just seems to “get it” when I talk about the Summer Solstice. Whether it’s discussing the effects of the different winds, the state of the sea bed, or what vegetables are in season, people’s lives are centred around nature.

One of my favourite moments recently was whilst Mark Thomas was talking with the local dive school owner about Molunat being the last village in Croatia.

Vlaho was quick to correct: “It’s not the last village, it’s the first village! The sun rises in Molunat”, he said, without hesitation.

Of course it does!

For me, I was meant to be back in the UK to run a large yoga event on Exmouth beach, which usually gets around 100 people. Clearly, I’m not going to be there this year, so I decided to take it online, and at the same time, invite the people of Konavle to join me in person, so we can all be connected.

I’m determined that, even if it is just in our own small corner of the world, we must start to connect and collaborate, with the understanding that we are all one global family. To build bridges instead of walls, to spread love instead of hate, and to find unity where there is division.

If nothing else, we share the same sun, and this is something to be celebrated!


Gillie Sutherland grew up in the north of England, before settling in Devon, but has now swapped her UK address for one on the Adriatic in the very south of Croatia, in Molunat. A professional yoga trainer she now runs retreats and online courses from her Konavle base. She also writes a weekly column for the Devon newspaper, The Express and Echo. Keep in touch with Gillie via her yoga website -


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