Celebrating Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice this year comes on June 21st. It marks the longest day of the year for us in the United States. It’s the perfect day to enjoy catching a few rays and celebrate the beginning of summer. Let’s look at some tidbits about this special yearly event.
- As we mentioned, 2019’s Summer Solstice will be June 21st. It’s actually somewhere between June 20th and June 22nd with the exact time changing each year based on the earth’s rotation. This year the sun will peak at 11:54am (eastern time.)
- The sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer on the Summer Solstice helping to make it the longest day of the year.
- The name Summer Solstice comes from it’s Latin root sol (sun) and sister (to stand still). During the solstice the sun does not seem to move or change positions not only on the solstice but also on the days following.
- The temperature does not change dramatically for a couple of months after the Summer Solstice. It is explained: Since water, which makes up most of the Earth’s surface, takes a while to heat it takes the Earth’s temperature about 8 weeks to increase to our triple digits and blazing temperatures we see in Texas.
- Many believe because solstice occurs in summer that the Earth is closest to the Sun during this time. It is actually the opposite. The Earth is farthest from the Sun in the northern hemisphere during Summer Solstice and is closer to the Sun during Winter Solstice.
- Pagans celebrate Summer Solstice almost as a religious celebration. Honoring the Sun God with traditions including keeping a Sacred Fire burning, staying up the night before to see the run rise on the solstice, making a pledge to Mother Earth, exchanging gifts with friends, singing songs, chanting, telling stories, dancing and drumming around a bonfire.
There seems to be a celebration every where in the world for Summer Solstice. A world’s record was set in Norway in 2016 during a Summer Solstice celebration. They had the tallest bonfire measuring 155.5 feet. That is an incredible way to celebrate!
Stonehenge has yearly Summer Solstice celebrations that draws many from around the world to watch the sunrise. It is special at this location because of the way the Sun lines up with the stones. The sun rises just over the structure’s Heel Stone and hits the Altar Stone dead center. A mystery that may never be answered.
Egyptians set their calendar to begin their new year just after the solstice and the appearance of the Sirius star. The Chinese culture for many centuries believed the Summer Solstice was the yin…the opposite to the winter solstice’s yang. During the Summer Solstice the influence of the yang was at it’s maximum potential and the celebration focused on changing to the yin. The change from yang to yin is honored during the Summer Solstice. The principle of Yin and Yang is that all things exist as inseparable and opposites.
Ancient Greece celebrated the Summer Solstice with a festival where the God of agriculture was honored. This festival was special for the time because slaves and freeman participated in the festivities in unison.
I personally will be celebrating with yoga and meditation. Whatever you decide to do for the Summer Solstice Celebration enjoy yourself and be grateful for our gifts from Mother Earth and the Universe.