8 Summer Solstice Facts That You Need to Know
The summer solstice arrives on June 20, 2020. Isn’t that cool? It only happens once a year and the day is marked with the most hours of sunlight. There are plenty of celebrations and gatherings, just because it is a cool day. Below are other facts about the summer solstice that you need to know.
1. Every planet in the solar system has a summer solstice.
It is not a phenomenon exclusive to Earth! Mars solstice is close to the Earth in June while the next one on Uranus happens in 2069. It only occurs once every 84 years and lasts for 21 years.
2. The northern summer solstice means winter in the south.
During the summer solstice, the north pole is tilted closest to the sun. This means the south pole does the opposite and it is tilted farthest from the sun.
3. Solstice means ‘sun standstill’.
The Latin word solstice means ‘sun standstill’. It is an accurate description as the sun at noon of the summer solstice appears to be not moving, if only for a brief period of time.
4. But the summer solstice has many different names.
In Europe, the summer solstice is called midsummer. Neopagans called it Lithia. Some Christian churches celebrate this day as St. John’s Day to celebrate the birthday of John the Baptist.
5. The Stonehenge is busy during the summer solstice.
It is believed that Stonehenge in England was constructed to celebrate the summer solstice. Tourists flock this popular site on this day for a big celebration.
6. The celebrations vary.
Ancient cultures honored the sun gods or deities on this day by ritual human sacrifice. The Vikings, for example, hung dead human and animal bodies from trees as an offering to the gods.
7. Garlands were necessary for the celebrations.
Pagans believed evil spirits appeared on the summer solstice. They believed garlands and flowers would protect them. St. John’s Wort is a powerful garland component, which is then known as ‘chase devil’.
8. The sun never sets on Iceland.
The sun dips down to the horizon and starts to rise again! It is an amazing phenomenon. Iceland is the only place outside of the Arctic Circle where this happens.