This year the summer solstice falls on Sunday, June 20 at 11:32 p.m. EST in the Northern Hemisphere. This day is the most sunlight we will receive all year.
10 secrets about the summer solstice:
- Every planet has a summer solstice, however some of the planets such as Uranus have the summer solstice every 84 years with seasons lasting 21 years.
- According to pagan folklore, evil spirits would appear on the summer solstice. To ward them off, people would wear protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of these plants was known as “chase devil,” today referred to as St. John’s Wort.
- The summer solstice goes by different names. In northern Europe, the summer solstice is often referred to as Midsummer, while Wiccans and other Neopagan groups call it Litha. Some Christian churches recognize the summer solstice as St. John’s Day, to commemorate the birth of John the Baptist.
- The actual word solstice comes from Latin words meaning “sun stand still,” because it will look as if the sun does not move for a short period of time when it reaches its highest point.
- Stonehenge in England is thought to have been constructed to celebrate the summer solstice. To this day, tourists flock to the ancient site to witness the sunrise right through the center stone during the summer solstice.
- Many ancient cultures worshiped the sun and/or had deities or rulers called Sun Kings and practiced ritual human sacrifice, especially at the solstice. The Vikings were said to have hung dead human and animal bodies from trees as an offering to the gods.
- Pikas, which are rabbit-like mammals, busily store piles of food under rocks for the darker times of the year during the summer solstice and birds which usually sing during the dawn hours will sing all day long.
- Rats and other nocturnal animals get the blues during the summer solstice and become inactive and more lethargic according to research.
- When a person stands near the Sphinx on the summer solstice, the sun looks like it’s setting halfway between the pyramids Khafre and Khufu. The sight is remarkably similar to a hieroglyph called akhet, which translates roughly as “horizon.”
- The summer solstice is said to be the happiest day of the year with research showing a majority of people expressing feelings of joy and contentment on this day each year.
Whatever you choose to do to celebrate this glorious day of sunlight, do it with gratitude in your heart and allow your body to absorb the natural vitamin D.