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Summer Solstice 2023

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

June 21 is the summer solstice, in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the beginning of summer. It is not an official date, but a long-held tradition recognized around the world for centuries.

A solstice is an astronomical event, caused by a tilt on the earth's axis as it orbits the sun. The sun sets more slowly at the solstice.

The word “solstice” comes from the Latin solstitium—from sol (Sun) and stitium (still or stopped). The Sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky and the Sun’s path does not change for a brief period.

South of the Equator, this same moment marks the unofficial beginning of winter.

It is the longest day because it has the most hours of daylight, not more hours in the day. The phenomenon continues for a few more days before the sun appears to reverse its course and the days begin to shorten.

Humans and animals tend to treasure this time of warmth and light as we transition into the warmest days of the year.

On average, summer lasts for 93.6 days in the Northern Hemisphere, making the summer solstice end on August 31 this year.

Enjoy and get ready for some hot days to come.

The solstice is historically linked to fertility and romantic rituals.

Some Summer solstice traditions around the world are:

  • In Sweden - Midsummer celebrations include dancing around a maypole, a somewhat phallic symbol. People would feast on herring and vodka, sing, dance, and prepare for the hot days to come. A lot of children were born 9 months after Midsummer.

  • Some 5,000 years ago, people in England people placed huge stones in a circle and aligned them with the June solstice sunrise. Stonehenge, as it is known, is where, during druid and pagan times, they observed the union of male and female deities - the sun and earth.

  • Even in modern times, thousands gather each year to celebrate.

  • Around the same time, Stonehenge was being constructed, two great pyramids and the Sphinx were built in Egypt, and even more, structures were built by the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas. These structures line up with shadows between them, created by the sun precisely at the time of the summer solstice.

  • In Eastern Europe, the summer solstice is connected with Ivan Kupala Day -- a holiday with romantic connotations.

  1. It used to be that young, unmarried women would float floral wreaths in the river, whereas eager bachelors on the other side would try to catch the flowers.

  2. Bonfires were constructed, and a couple would leap through the flames together while holding hands -- if they don't let go, it is said their love will last.

  • In China, women gave colored fans and sachets to each other. Fans could help them feel cool, and the sachets were for driving away mosquitoes and making them smell sweet.

  • In India, the time is traditionally celebrated with mass yoga sessions throughout the country.

  • The International Day of Yoga is June 21.

International Yoga Day, also known as International Day of Yoga, is a day to celebrate the Indian practice of yoga and to raise awareness about its importance. This day has been celebrated since 2014 and is recognized by the UN General Assembly as an International Day of Recognition.

Summer Solstice
Summer Solstice


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