June Solstice: Longest and Shortest Day of the Year

The June solstice is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice the Southern Hemisphere.

Illustration image

The June Solstice. (Not to scale)

The date varies between June 20 and June 22, depending on the year, and the local time zone.

June Solstice in Aurora, Illinois, USA was on
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 11:24 pm CDT (Change city)

June Solstice in Universal Coordinated Time was on
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 04:24 UTC

Zenith Furthest Away from the Equator

A solstice happens when the sun’s zenith is at its furthest point from the equator. On the June solstice, it reaches its northernmost point and the Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the sun, at about 23.4 degrees.

It’s also known as the northern solstice because it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere.

Meaning of Solstice

‘Solstice’ (Latin: ‘solstitium’) means ‘sun-stopping’. The point on the horizon where the sun appears to rise and set, stops and reverses direction after this day. On the solstice, the sun does not rise precisely in the east, but rises to the north of east and sets to the north of west, meaning it’s visible in the sky for a longer period of time.

Although the June solstice marks the first day of astronomical summer, it’s more common to use meteorological definitions of seasons, making the solstice midsummer or midwinter.

Illustration image
Stonehenge in England.
©bigstockphoto.com/dubassy

Solstices in Culture

Over the centuries, the June solstice has inspired countless festivals, midsummer celebrations and religious holidays.

One of the world’s oldest evidence of the Summer Solstice’s importance in culture is Stonehenge in England, a megalithic structure which clearly marks the moment of the June Solstice.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where the June solstice is known as the shortest day of the year, it marks the first day of astronomical winter, but the middle of winter in meteorological terms.

Midnight Sun or Polar Night?

On the June solstice, the midnight sun is visible (weather permitting) throughout the night, in all areas from just south of the Arctic Circle to the North Pole.

On the other side of the planet, south of the Antarctic Circle there’s Polar Night, meaning no Sunlight at all, on the June Solstice.

Solstice Dates Vary

Even though most people consider June 21 as the date of the June Solstice, it can happen anytime between June 20 and June 22, depending on which time zone you’re in. June 22 Solstices are rare – the last June 22 Solstice in UTC time took place in 1975 and there won’t be another one until 2203.

The varying dates of the solstice are mainly due to the calendar system – most western countries use the Gregorian calendar which has 365 days in a normal year and 366 days in a Leap Year.

A tropical year is the time it takes the Earth to orbit once around the Sun. It is around 365.242199 days long, but varies slightly from year to year because of the influence of other planets. The exact orbital and daily rotational motion of the Earth, such as the “wobble” in the Earth’s axis (precession of the equinoxes), also contributes to the changing solstice dates.

Moving to Other Seasons

Equinox and solstice illustration.
Equinoxes and Solstices

After the June solstice, the sun follows a lower and lower path through the sky each day in the Northern Hemisphere until it reaches the point where the length of daylight is about 12 hours and eight to nine minutes in areas that are about 30 degrees north or south of the equator.

Areas 60 degrees north or south of the equator have daylight for about 12 hours and 16 minutes. This is the September Equinox, the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

Earth does not move at a constant speed in its elliptical orbit. Therefore the seasons are not of equal length: the times taken for the sun to move from the March Equinox to the June Solstice, to the September equinox, to the December solstice, and back to the March equinox are roughly 92.8, 93.6, 89.8 and 89.0 days respectively.

The consolation in the Northern Hemisphere is that spring and summer last longer than autumn and winter.

Information from https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/june-solstice.html

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Summer Solstice Traditions – HISTORY LISTS™

or many bygone civilizations, the summer solstice—the longest day of the year—was endowed with great significance. People celebrated this special day, which falls in June in the northern hemisphere and is also known as midsummer, with festivals, celebrations and other observances, some of which still survive or have experienced a revival in modern times.

Ancient Greeks
According to certain iterations of the Greek calendar—they varied widely by region and era—the summer solstice was the first day of the year. Several festivals were held around this time, including Kronia, which celebrated the agriculture god Cronus. The strict social code was temporarily turned on its head during Kronia, with slaves participating in the merriment as equals or even being served by their masters. The summer solstice also marked the one-month countdown to the opening of the Olympic games.

Ancient Romans…

To read the rest of this article please click on this link: http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/summer-solstice-traditions

Litha/Summer Solstice June 21st.

Here we are, we have arrived at the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Goddess is now full and pregnant with Child, and the Sun God is at the height of His virility. This is the peak of the Solar year and the Sun is at the height of its life-giving power. The Earth is awash with fertility and fulfillment and this is a time of joy and celebration, of expansiveness and the celebration of achievements.

Yet within this climax is the whisper and promise of a return to the Dark. As the Light reaches its peak so this is also the moment when the power of the Sun begins to wane. From now on the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer and we are drawn back into the Dark to complete the Wheel of the Year.

At this time the God, as Oak King, is rich in abundance, but he…

To read the rest of this article please click on this link: https://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/litha

Litha: Summer Solstice – 21st/22nd June

Litha (Midsummer, Gathering Day, Summer Solstice, Alban Heffyn, Feill-Sheathain)
Incense: Sage, mint, basil, Saint John’s Wort, sunflower, Lavender
Decorations: Dried herbs, potpourri, seashells, summer flowers, and fruits.
Colours: blue, green, and yellow

The Fire Festival of Litha

Midsummer or the Summer Solstice is the most powerful day of the year for the Sun God. Because this Sabbat glorifies the Sun God and the Sun, fire plays a very prominent role in this festival. The element of Fire is the most easily seen and immediately felt element of transformation. It can burn, consume, cook, shed light or purify and balefires still figure prominently at modern Midsummer rites.

Most cultures of the Northern Hemisphere mark Midsummer…

To read the rest of this article please click on the following link: http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/the_wheel_of_the_year/litha_-_summer_solstice.asp

Flashback 2008 – Summer Solstice

When the Sun is at its peak in the sky at our Summer Solstice, Earth is as close as possible to the Sun. Litha is the ancient Germanic name for summer and the time to celebrate its warmth. This important time in the solar year is when the Oak King, God of Light, hands over the reign to the Holly King, God of Darkness, who rules from this point forward for the other half of the year.

At this time when light will begin to wane, decorate your altar and house with sunflowers. Place honey on your altar to represent life’s sweetness. Light the same gold candle for a short time for four to five nights over this period. On the last evening, after the candle is safely snuffed, wrap what is left of it in a yellow ribbon or gold colored cloth and keep it somewhere safe for protection and good fortune until next Litha.

Make a sunflower solstice cake decorated with yellow icing and sunflower seeds to share with your friends over a glass of mead. Enjoy your time outdoors, allowing the Sun to warm your body as you relax, walk, or read. Bid farewell to the Sun god for a few months and be assured he will return.

Copyright Emely Flak – Llewellyn Witches’ Datebook 2008 Pg 79

Midsummer/Summer Solstice

Author: Christina Aubin [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: June 23rd. 2001
Times Viewed: 111,351

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” — Maori proverb

Summer Solstice falls at the precise moment when the Sun’s power is at its zenith. It is the time of year when the noon sun appears to be farthest north from the celestial equator. “Solstice” is Latin for “sun stands still” (sol “sun” and sistere “to stand”). Summer Solstice is so named because to the naked eye the sun appears stationary in its northern and southern progression. The sun is directly over the tropic of Cancer at the summer solstice, at which time the sun is 23¡27′ north. The sun travels 23.5 degrees to reach its maximum distance from the celestial equator during both the summer and winter solstice.

It is the longest day and shortest night of the year. From the moment of Summer Solstice, the Sun immediately begins to wane. The journey into the harvest season has begun.

Midsummer has been one of the important solar events throughout the evolution of humankind. It was an indicator that the year was about to begin waning, thus winter would be again returning. Although not all the ancients were as precise in the calculations from an astronomical point, you can be sure that they were keenly aware of the sun’s progression, and did most assuredly know when Solstice was upon them, as the sun appeared to stand still in its northern progression.

The axis of Stonehenge, which aligns with the monument’s entrance, is oriented in the direction of the midsummer sunrise…

For the rest of this article please click on this link: http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usma&c=holidays&id=3525

Happy Summer Solstice

By The Wild Hunt on Jun 18, 2016 08:04 pm

TWH – For many people around the world, this weekend marks the celebration of theSummer Solstice, also known as Midsummer or Litha. It is at this time that the Northern Hemisphere is tilted closest to the sun. The astrological date for this year’s solstice is June 20, 22:34 UTC (or 6:34 pm ET).

In honor of the abundance of daylight and sunshine, communities have long used bonfires, music, dancing, and outdoor festivals as traditional features of both religious rituals and secular celebrations. In some modern Pagan practices, it is believed that this holiday represents the highest ascendancy of masculine divinity.

At the same time, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are experiencing the exact opposite. They are coming together to celebrate and mark the winter solstice – a time of darkness, candles and inward reflection.

Sunflower fields near Fargo, SD. Photo by Hephaestos.

Sunflower fields near Fargo, SD. [Photo Credit: Hephaestos]

This 2016 solstice event is particularly special. It will be the first time in 70 years that the full moon is happening at the same time. Slooh.com will be broadcasting the rare event live.

There are several international secular holidays that correspond to the midsummer holiday. In 1982, Make Music Day, held annually June 21, was established in France and has since spread to become a global solstice celebration of sound. And, on that same day, others will be honoring the United Nations’ official International Yoga Day, while still others will be taking to the warm summer mountain trails to celebrate Naked Hiking Day.

Additionally, the summer solstice typically falls on or around the celebration of Father’s Day in the United States. The history of this secular holiday does not have the same radical roots as its counterpart Mother’s Day. In 1908, a Washington state woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, who had been raised by a widower, wanted male parents to be honored in a similar way as mothers. In 1910, Dodd was able to convince the state to establish an official Father’s Day. The idea spread very slowly, meeting much resistance. Many felt that the holiday was silly, and others protested against the establishment of yet another commercially-focused celebration. However, after being given a boost by World War II nationalism, the unofficial Father’s Day was widely embraced by people around the country. Then, in 1972, Richard Nixon signed the proclamation that made the day an official U.S. holiday.

June also marks gay pride month — officially proclaimed this year as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month — which has grown in popularity over the past few decades. Events are specifically held in June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, which happened in New York City on June 28, 1969.

Similarly, in the social spectrum, June 19 marks the formal end of slavery in the U.S. and is often called Juneteenth or Emancipation Day. While it is not widely celebrated, the holiday is reportedly becoming more popular and gaining ground in cities and local venues. The day is currently marked as an official state holiday in Texas.

While those celebrations mentioned above are all examples of secular-based traditions, there are just as many religious-based holidays that occur at this time, many of which are honored by modern Pagans, Heathens and polytheists.  As already noted, there is the celebration of Litha or Midsummer, or conversely Yule and Midwinter.

The Fires of St. John festival, a Christian-holiday, is also held at this time in many countries and is closely associated with the older midsummer solstice’s traditions, including bonfires and feasts. Similar celebrations are found in many European countries, often known by different names.

In Vodun, Lucumi and other African diaspora religions, there are a number of feast days celebrated around this time, including the Feast of Ochossi and Feast of Eleggua.

In modern Hellenic reconstruction, the festival of Promethea occurs on June 21. One of the traditions is to eat fennel, which this is what Prometheos used to smuggle fire to man.

Solstice Fire at Pagan Spirit Gathering

Solstice Fire at Pagan Spirit Gathering [Courtesy Photo]

Here are some thoughts on the season:

“Litha or Midsummer, a time of bonfires, mugwort, mythical beings, nights and days of mischief and love. The veil is thin. The Celts, the Norse and the Slavs believed that there were three ‘spirit nights’ in the year when magic ran amok and the Otherworld was near. The first was Halloween, the second was May Eve and the third was Midsummer Eve. All sorts of enchantments are in the air now and Spirits and Fairies abound.” –  Danette Wilson, “Outside the Circle: The Bad Fairies of Litha

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“As we honor the solstice we may reach out to the sun, but while doing so we will also reach out to those that have been lost. We will grieve for them and we will grieve with them. Hopefully the energy we raise in their remembrance will inspire us to help bring about the change that will make for better tomorrows. This Midsummer will be a somber sabbat, but that’s what it should be.” – Jason Mankey, “A Somber Solstice

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“There’s a powerful juxtaposing of realities going on right now: one is the world as we know it, with an ethos of fear and scarcity, and an ugly underbelly that’s so evident in the horrific news of recent weeks; and the other is a life-centered ethos revealed in Nature’s emerging summertime landscape of stunning beauty and overflowing abundance.” – Karen Clark, “Three Lessons from the Summer Solstice

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“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.” –  Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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However you choose to celebrate the season, a very happy solstice to everyone!

The strawberry full moon makes this summer solstice a super rare thing

This year the heavenly bodies seem to have conspired to sweeten the pot with an event we haven’t seen in 70 years.

The summer solstice isn’t a rare event, a full moon even less so. But they’re both special, and when they just so happen to occur on the same day, as they will this year? That’s once-in-a-lifetime special.

The 2016 North American summer solstice happens on June 20, 2016 at 6:34 PM EDT. That’s the very moment when, essentially, the sun stands still at its northernmost point as seen from Earth. Its zenith doesn’t yearn north or south, but waits patiently at the Tropic of Cancer before switching directions and heading south again. This is where the word solstice comes from; the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop).

For the rest of this article please click on this link http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/strawberry-full-moon-makes-summer-solstice-super-rare-thing.html