The Summer Solstice is a phenomenon of astronomy that marks the beginning of Summer because it is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere due to the Sun’s position on the highest point of the Tropic of Cancer.
And TODAY you’re going to learn the exact date of the the first day of summer 2018, plus other meanings Summer solstice has had throughout the centuries.
Let’s dive in
This natural phenomena is due to the rotation of the Earth and its position regarding the Sun; because of this, sunlight is distributed unevenly between the two hemispheres, which in turn means that the Southern hemisphere celebrates its Winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, when in the North it’s when the sun is out the most.
This Summer solstice will take place on Thursday 21st of June, 2018 at 10:07 UTC.
Anyone who lives in the colder climates of the North can appreciate the beginning of Summer on long sunny days ahead.
In ancient times the first day of Summer was an important event used to mark the calendar, know when to plant and harvest crops and celebrate weddings.
The word “solstice” originally stems from the Latin word “Solstitium”, which roughly translated means that the Sun has come to a standstill.
Now, only countries way up north of the Arctic Circle such as Sweden and Finland experience this literal standstill and have named it Midnight Sun, but other countries like England will enjoy 16 hours of daylight this first day of Summer.
The first and oldest historical fact surrounding the Summer Solstice that must be mentioned is Stonehenge.
In ancient China, the Summer solstice was the time to celebrate femininity and the “yin” forces, while the celebration of masculinity and “yan” forces were celebrated during the Winter solstice.
Ancient tribes of what is now known as modern Germany, France, Romania, and England had different pagan celebrations such as the Feast of Epona which represented a mare goddess who personified fertility and protected horses.
As Christianity became more prevalent, these pagan rituals of celebration where incorporated and transformed in the Christian religion, such as the celebration to honor St. John the Baptist, instead of pagan gods.
In North America, some native tribes celebrated ritual dances to honor the Sun. The “sundance” varied from tribe to tribe, but many had in common typical activities like dancing, fasting, experiencing visions, singing, prayer, and meditation.
The belief that it brings good luck to marry in Summer comes from the Druids who celebrated the marriage of day and night. And nowadays, whether you want to get married or hang out with friends, it is evident that during the warm summer days we choose to bask in the sun, many of us wear a swimsuit on the beach or at the pool, or simply wear comfortable clothes and have a nice picnic at the park. Long live Summer!