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Summer solstice 2022: 10 things to know about the longest day of the year

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In 2022, the summer solstice will take place on Tuesday, June 21. This will officially mark the beginning of this season in the Northern Hemisphere and will become the longest day of the year. However, this doesn’t mean that the day will have more hours, but that there will be a bigger difference in duration between day and night.

Here are some facts that you probably didn’t know about the summer solstice: What it is, how it is celebrated in some countries, why it is important, and which cultures celebrate this day the most as the official arrival of summer. Get to know 10 things about the longest day of the year!

10. Summer solstice is a major celebration in the UK

UK summer solstice
Photo: Shutterstock

If you really want to know what a summer solstice celebration is like, you cannot miss the arrival of this season in one of the best-known historical sites in the world: Stonehenge, where thousands of people meet each year, especially those belonging to the Celtic culture.

Visitors stay at Stonehenge for four days, as this historic site is believed to have been a gathering place to admire the way the sun aligned with the stones during the solstice. Access to this event is open to all tourists who wish to admire the phenomenon and walk among the stones on this day.

9. The sun seems to stand still

The sun doesn't seem to move
Photo: Shutterstock

The term ‘solstice’ comes from Latin, and means a stop in the movement of the sun. This doesn’t mean that the earth is not rotating, but it does mean that the position of the sun will remain ‘static’ longer. During the solstice, the sun will be in the same place for several days.

After a few days, the sun will begin to change direction and move south again; For this reason, the summer solstice is one of the phenomena astronomy lovers enjoy the most, who meet in places like Stockholm, Canada, Mexico and the United States to celebrate it.

8. One of the largest bonfires took place on this day

Campfire-Alesund-Midsummer
Photo: Eventfulglobe.com

Did you know that in 2016 the largest bonfire in history was recorded? This took place during the summer solstice in the city of Ålesund, Norway, where the residents built a bonfire over 155 feet high. This record was broken three years later during the Austrian Carnival.

The celebration of the summer solstice is, without a doubt, one of the most important in the world, and has been held for several centuries. In Scandinavian regions, the solstice is celebrated with festivities such as Midsummer, a commemoration that occurs every June 24.

7. It is not the hottest day of the year

summer solstice hot day
Photo: Shutterstock

If it is the day where the sun appears for the longest time, does that also mean that the solstice is the hottest day of the year? The answer will surprise you! According to science, although the solstice is the day when we receive the greatest amount of sunlight, the highest temperatures are reached several days after this phenomenon.

This is because it takes several days for the water to reach higher temperatures; it usually takes about six weeks before the earth’s temperature begins to feel the sun’s most severe effects.

6. How do some communities celebrate the solstice?

Photo: Shutterstock

The solstice celebration is an event observed by virtually every culture in the world. In ancient Europe, large bonfires were built over water to symbolize the balance between water and fire, while in countries like China, the summer solstice represents yin, and the winter solstice represents yang.

It is believed that in this Asian culture, the summer solstice gives the sun a greater influence over Earth. With the change of seasons and the length of the day, a kind of balance between yin and yang is reached.

5. The solstice: the start of a new year in past traditions

summer solstice ancient egypt
Photo: Shutterstock

Today, the summer solstice is the reason for festivals and guided tours of historical sites, but the meaning of the celebration goes much further in some traditions. For example, in Ancient Egypt, the solstice preceded the appearance of Sirius, an astronomical event capable of surprising everyone.

In this culture, the Egyptians believed that the star Sirius was responsible for flooding the Nile. For this reason, they decided to change their calendar so that the beginning of a new year coincided with the appearance of this star after the summer solstice.

4. Find out how the solstice is celebrated in Alaska!

alaska summer solstice
Photo: Shutterstock

While some cultures celebrate the arrival of the summer solstice with huge bonfires and rituals, Alaskans give a touch of originality to this commemoration and for weeks before they organize a baseball game at midnight!

This takes place at 10:00 pm and is organized by the Alaska Goldpanners baseball team, from Fairbanks, since 1960 (although the tradition began in 1906), which marked the beginning of its existence as one of the teams closest to the north pole of the entire planet.

3. Distance between the earth and the sun during the solstice

Distance between the Earth and the Sun
Photo: Shutterstock

During the summer solstice, minimum temperatures of 58° and maximum of 85° Fahrenheit are reached and the approximate duration of sunlight is 15 hours. The distance between the earth and the sun is approximately 152 million km, while during the summer solstice it is 147 million km.

You may think that the summer solstice brings the earth closer to the sun, but it’s the opposite, since the winter solstice is the day when the planet is closest to the sun. The change in temperature does not occur because of the earth’s proximity to the sun, but because of the tilt of the earth’s axis.

2. The solstice: memory of dark times

the earth revolved around the sun
Photo: Shutterstock

Nowadays it’s common to see people gathered to celebrate the official arrival of summer and load on positive energies with the arrival of the solstice, making the most of the extra hours of sunshine that are experienced on this day with songs, bonfires and fairs, but this has not always been the case! And the solstice represents a somewhat dark time in some cultures.

For example, it is believed that during the summer solstice of 1633, Galileo was forced to recant his belief that the Earth revolved around the Sun, a dark time that led the scientist to live out the rest of his life under house arrest.

1. The solstice in ancient Rome and Greece

The solstice in ancient Rome and Greece
Photo: Shutterstock

In ancient Rome, the summer solstice coincided with the festival of Vestalia, where the goddess Vesta, known for being the figure of authority in all matters related to domestic life, was honored; on that day, women could enter the temple of the vestal virgins.

For their part, the ancient Greeks organized a festival known as Cronia, in honor of the god Cronos, the protector of agriculture, a way of life that signifies the sustenance of civilizations; Something that distinguished Cronia was that all sectors of society could participate in equal conditions, regardless of their status, type of work or origin.

The post Summer solstice 2022: 10 things to know about the longest day of the year appeared first on Mundo Hispánico

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