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Summer is Here! Solstice Facts & Folklore

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Summer is Here! Solstice Facts & Folklore

When Is The First Day Of Summer?

The first day of summer 2019 arrives with the solstice on Friday, June 21st at 11:54 a.m. EDT. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this marks the longest day of the year and the moment when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, its highest point. For those who live in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the shortest day of the year and the arrival of winter. The solstice happens at the same moment for everyone, everywhere on Earth.

What Does The Term “Solstice” Mean?

The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). At the solstice, the angle between the Sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator (called declination) appears to stand still. This phenomenon is most noticeable at the Arctic Circle where the Sun hugs the horizon for a continuous 24 hours, thus the term “Land of the Midnight Sun.” Here’s how it differs from an equinox.

Some people believe that our seasons are caused by the Earth’s changing distance from the Sun. In reality, it is due to the 23-degree tilt of the Earth’s axis that the Sun appears above the horizon for different lengths of time at different seasons. The tilt determines whether the Sun’s rays strike at a low angle or more directly.

Summer Solstice Folklore

The summer solstice has long been celebrated by cultures around the world:

  • In Ancient Egypt, the summer solstice coincided with the rising of the Nile River. As it was crucial to predict this annual flooding, the Egyptian New Year began at this important solstice.
  • In centuries past, the Irish would cut hazel branches on Solstice eve to be used in searching for gold, water, and precious jewels.
  • Many European cultures hold Midsummer celebrations at the solstice, which include gatherings at Stonehenge and the lighting of bonfires on hilltops.

Maybe you celebrate summer by taking a vacation or spending more time outdoors? Whatever you do, just remember, summer officially starts June 21st.

See what we’re forecasting for summer weather!

Fun fact: Be sure to look at your noontime shadow around the time of the solstice. It will be your shortest noontime shadow of the year!

Your noontime shadow around the time of the solstice will be your shortest noontime shadow of the year!

Crow about the weather!


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6 comments

1 Celebrate The Midpoint of Summer! - Farmers’ Almanac { 08.06.19 at 2:42 pm }

[…] But one thing is constant for everyone: it is getting darker earlier in the evening. Since the Summer Solstice on June 21st, the length of daylight has been getting shorter; a result of the Sun’s direct rays […]

2 Finnish flute soloist Ulla Suokko is (a Girl Power Academy) Summer Solstice recommendation: | a Girl Power Academy { 06.21.19 at 3:01 am }

[…] Before, watching the transformative TEDTalk by Ulla Suokko, here are some excerpted Solstice facts sourced from the 2019 Farmer’s Almanac. You may want to learn more by visiting: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/summer-solstice […]

3 Summer by the numbers; May was most active tornado month in eight years – Florida Weather Watch { 06.19.19 at 9:25 am }

[…] the sun reaches its farthest north point on the planet, roughly 23.5 degrees, the Tropic of Cancer. The Farmers’ Almanac notes: “Be sure to look at your noontime shadow around the time of the solstice. It will be […]

4 June 21st | Summer Solstice | Kimberly Media { 06.19.19 at 3:52 am }

[…] In Ancient Egypt, the summer solstice coincided with the rising of the Nile River. As it was crucial to predict this annual flooding, the Egyptian New Year began at this important solstice —peek at the Farmer’s Almanac, it has more Solstice Facts & Folklore. […]

5 Our BIGGEST thanks to our Readers & Sponsors on the SHORTEST day of the year – Tree Frog creative { 12.21.18 at 11:44 am }

[…] day of the year and the lowest average daily temperature of the year? According to the Farmer’s Almanac, it’s because the Earth’s thermal mass still retains heat from the summer and cools gradually. […]

6 Summer Produce Storage Tips | The Stories Behind the Boxes { 06.15.15 at 7:41 am }

[…] you yogis out there, and the veggies are beginning to tumble in. Many cultures have celebrated the Summer Solstice in different ways: The Egyptians celebrated their New Year at the Summer Solstice which coincided […]

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