“In two weeks it’ll be the longest day in the year… Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere happens on June 20 or June 21. The date brings the year’s longest stretch of daylight. Though the hours of sunlight depend on location, many areas will see 16 hours’ worth of light that day. The timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. The solstice heralds the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
In 2015, the summer begins with the solstice on June 21 at 12:38 P.M. EDT, according to Almanac.com (Yes, the same day as Father’s Day – reason enough for a double celebration!) The summer solstice is also a time of celebration for Christians and Pagans. Ancient Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Chinese, Mayan and Aztec, Druids and Native Americans have all marked Solstices – Summer and Winter – with rituals, celebrations and observances to honor the earth and the skies. In Christianity, the first day of summer marks the festival of St. John the Baptist, and in Paganism followers celebrate what they call “midsummer” with bonfires and feasts. These Midsummer Celebrations and rituals take place throughout the European countries and beyond where European or Christian traditions have spread.
The summer solstice means the longest day of the year, but not necessarily the hottest. According to Space.com, it takes a month or two for some geographic areas to see their warmest days simply because it takes the Earth time to warm up. In fact, solstices do not mark the start of winter or summer at all – they are actually the midpoint of each season.
However you wish to honor Midsummer, Happy Summer Solstice Day!