What You Need To Know About the Summer Solstice

June 18, 2015 | News

With the summer solstice right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to take a look at this natural occurrence that has taken on scientific, spiritual, and symbolic significance over many centuries.

What is the summer solstice?

StonehengeThe summer solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the official first day of summer. While the 2015 summer solstice will take place on June 21st, it varies every year between June 20th and the 22nd.

During the solstice and its surrounding days, the sun appears to stand still. That’s why it was given the name “solstice,” which is from the Latin words sol for sun and sistere, to stand still.

Who celebrates it?

Celebration of the summer solstice dates back centuries with roots to Paganism and Wicca, as well as ancient Egypt, China and other civilizations.

Ancient European Pagans and Wiccans celebrated with a Midsummer festival known as Litha by rolling giant wheels of fire into bodies of water to symbolize the balance between the two elements. Last year, more than 37,000 people celebrated the event at Stonehenge in England.

SunriseIn ancient China, the solstice represented the balance between the yin of the summer solstice and the yang of the winter solstice, while the ancient Egyptians celebrated the solstice as the beginning of the New Year.

In Alaska, the solstice is celebrated by the most northerly baseball team in the world, the Alaska Goldpanners, with a game that starts at 10:30 PM and continues into the next morning. This tradition was started in 1906 and is known as the Midnight Sun Game, since the sun shines nearly 24-hours a day in that part of the planet.

Where to go

Locally, a Summer Solstice Gathering will be held at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park on Sunday June 21 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and at Southwest Ranches Equestrian Park on Monday, June 22, 2015. These events are family-friendly and open to the public.

How do you celebrate the summer solstice? Let us know on Twitter with #SeahawkSummer.

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