The summer solstice is just around the corner, so here’s everything you need to know about what’s going on.
What is it?
The summer solstice, otherwise known as midsummer, is generally accepted to be the first day of summer (in the northern hemisphere at least).
It’s the day of the year when the top pole of the Earth is most inclined towards the Sun, which causes this half to have its annual longest day. From here on in the days get shorter, though, so it’s not all good news.
The word solstice comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).
This year, the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere is on 21 June.
From the Earth’s vantage point, the Sun seems to come to a stop before reversing its direction.
It’s the day of the year with the longest period of sunlight, so lots of people take the opportunity to celebrate.
How should I celebrate?
Make the most of more sun after work by getting together with friends. If you’re looking for something more organized, there are lots of events the world over that mark this special day.
Here’s how it’s done across the globe:
One of the biggest midsummer celebrations in the UK is at Stonehenge.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric stone circle in Wiltshire. Although no one quite knows what it is or why is was built, lots of people think that it was used as a place of worship, and it’s thought by some to be a sacred space.
People flock there to celebrate the summer solstice because the stones perfectly align with the sunrise.
On the outside of the circle lies the Heel Stone, and if you stand in the the right spot at midsummer, you’ll see the Sun come up directly above it.
Celebrations take place every year for the summer solstice, with special open access to the monument so you can watch the sun rise from this historic setting. You might even spot some druids, dressed in white cloaks.
At this year’s summer solstice at Stonehenge, the sun will rise at 04:52 and set at 21:26. Get there in plenty of time if you want a great view, as thousands of people have the same idea each year.
Make sure you protect your eyes on the most sun-filled day of the year with some shades. Get into the hippy swing of things with a rainbow-tinted pair:
Ray-Ban RB3016 – Clubmaster (HRG) (1/3)
Because Iceland is so far north, this time of year it’s pretty much 24-hour sunlight central.
Secret Solstice is a popular festival held each year in Reykjavik at midsummer, with lots of tourists also flocking to experience the unique atmosphere.
In the US, there’s yoga at Times Square to look forward to. Enjoy the sunrise while working out with pals. It’s a great opportunity to practice your sun salutation too!
Like this? Find out about top European travel destinations here.
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