The longest day of the year is a moment of celebration and this happened for centuries before civilization. 21st June marks the summer solstice, meaning the Sun reaches its highest point in its path, as seen from the Earth. Consequently, the tilt of the Earth’s axis is most inclined towards the sun.
The position of the Sun in the sky is the only measure we have for time and for a considerable part of the year, the Sun lags behind the clock while other times, mostly in summer, the sun stays ahead of the man-made clock. The solstice dates are never fixed, as they vary from the 20th to the 22nd for some reasons, mainly depending on the sun’s position and the Earth’s movement, mingled with other celestial events.
The sun that will mark this coming Sunday as the longest day of the year will stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then it will reverse its direction, making days shorter and summer nights immersed in more chilly waves of dark.
The event has a lot of pagan meaning, as it has been celebrated for centuries across the globe and it carries a lot of significance across communities all over the world. Pagans used to associate it with fertility and life and celebrate the long lingering on the sun above the lightened skies with dancing, bonfire and general cheerfulness.
Solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium, meaning “the Sunday stands still”, and it does for 30 seconds less and up to 31 seconds more than 24 hours. There will most probably be 17 hours and one minute of daylight and hopefully that will involve a lot of sunshine so our eyes can see and our bodies can feel.
There is an already extended celebration that takes place at Stonehenge. It seems the way that stones are positioned is aligned with the two annual solstices, the one in winter happening between December 20 and 22. In the past, people were more connected with the celestial events, as they didn’t have technology in hands to observe all what happens on the skies instead of them. They could enjoy all the novelty the skies was offering and celebrate the moments of enlightening and long daylight with joy and enthusiasm.
The summer solstice marks a zenith in our calendar, as the days only get darker starting from there. So, this is the greatest time for celebration, as we have the sun on our side and the daylight to lead our paths towards joy and freedom.
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