Image Credit: Jeremy Bishop
It may not necessarily feel much like it every year, but the Summer Solstice, which is also known as the Estival Solstice, June Solstice or Midsummer. It is the day that has the longest amount of daylight during the year.
June 20th or 21st is the date of the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and December 21st or 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere. But what exactly is an solstice, what does it mean and how do you celebrate it?
The word solstice comes from Latin. "Sol" means sun in latin and the "stice" means to stand still. So the summer solstice is the day where the sun pauses at it's southern limit before reversing direction.
It also marks the first day of summer in the astronomical calendar.
The Summer Solstice represents the exact middle of summer.
Let’s be honest, here in the UK this could mean that it could be a beautiful summers day, or it could be pouring with rain and freezing cold!
It also represents the beginning of astronomical summer.
Many cultures celebrate midsummer, especially as a fertility celebration. It is a particularly popular festival in Sweden, where you can join in the festivities by dressing in national costume, eating out of doors, drinking schnapps and dancing with flowers in your hair.
In pagan times you would celebrate the Summer Solstice by watching the sun rise on that morning. It is the most popular day to converge on sacred sites such as Stonehenge in Wiltshire to do this - probably because it generally has better weather than the Winter Solstice or the Spring or Autumn equinoxes.
If you don’t want to get up quite that early, and if the weather allows, you can just get out into the great outdoors and enjoy the warm weather.
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