What is the summer solstice? When? And why it is celebrated in some places? We want you to know more about the upcoming event.
Not much people know that summer solstice is celebrated as a ritual or a high important event in some countries, but it is actually. In fact, a crowd of people usually gather around Stonehenge to see the sunrise and celebrate that days begin soon to shorten again.
It occurs in midsummer, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is most aligned with the Sun. It provides much sunlight than in any other day of the year to the North Hemisphere, what means is the longest day! What from here? Days will be shortened each day until the winter solstice as our planet will be rotating away from the Sun.
It has been celebrated from thousand of year, but how did our ancestors know when it was? They imagined a sphere of stars surrounding the Earth so that when the Sun reached the most northerly point on it, it was summer solstice.
Now you might wonder how we can know the date of it, little scientist. Actually, it is always between 20th and 22nd of June in the northern hemisphere, and this year it will take place the 21st!
Stonehenge was built between 3.000 B.C and 1.600 B.C and, in case you didn’t know, it is an astronomical monument! We don’t know what was its main purpose yet, however the primary axes of Stonehenge looks like as though it would have been aligned with specific points of the winter and summer solstice respectively.
Pagans and druids used to gather in Stonehenge circle to make rituals and celebrate the summer solstice, or ‘Alban Hefin’ in Druidry (The Light of the Shore). There were some different types of celebration, but they usually meet to have a picnic or throw a party during which someone will speak about the time of year and its significance with storytelling, music and poetry as well as all of them were well-dressed for the occasion.
Nowadays, lot of people still meet there and repeat the celebrations of their ancestors. Moreover, is also said that if you stay inside Stonehenge on summer solstice’s day, facing the Heel Stone, you will see the rise of the Sun above it. It might be quite mystic and beautiful to see, don’t you think little scientist?
No! Of course it is also celebrated in many countries around the World! For example, in Poland is also seen as a pagan religious event and the celebration is rather similar than the British one; In Estonia, is used to mark a shift in agricultural patterns though; In Russia and Ukraine, people traditionally jump over bonfires to prove their faith and courage.
Although it means will have less daily sunlight from summer solstice, we are really happy in Science4you as we still can enjoy another middle of the summer! However we don’t know how we are going to celebrate it yet…
Do you know any other celebrations across the World? Or maybe you were a druid so you already know it! Anyway, let’s go out and enjoy the day!