Summer solstice, also known as the longest day of the year, will fall on June 21, and mark the return of brighter evenings as it is the longest period of sunlight.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice in will occur at 5:14am EDT (2.44pm IST) on Tuesday (June 21).
At this exact moment, Earth’s North Pole will tilt closest to the Sun, making it appear at its highest point in the sky this year.
What happens during the summer solstice?
When our planet’s orbit reaches the point where the North Pole is at its most inclined toward the Sun, it is exactly over the Tropic of Cancer at this moment. Because the sun goes farthest north in the sky around the solstice, the days leading up to it have the longest daylight of the year.
Why do we have solstices?
The answer to this question can be found at the dawn of our solar system. Due to random collision with other rocks billions of years ago, the Earth is tilted on its axis, giving us solstices, equinoxes, and seasons. According to Earthsky, as the Earth rotates around the Sun, the northern and southern hemispheres alternatively receive the Sun’s light and warmth every six months. The Earth is tilted on its axis by roughly 23.4 degrees relative to the plane of its orbit, which is why we get solstices.
Traditions associated with summer solstice
Since ancient times, people have elaborately observed the summer solstice. People used the day to organise calendars and farmers marked the day with sowing or harvesting of crops. Many historians say that Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in England believed to be 4,500 years old, is an evidence of humans using June Solstice as a way of setting the time of the year. Even now, tourists and locals visit Stonehenge to watch the sunrise on Summer Solstice.
Celebrations across the world on this day
According to the timeanddate.com, “In ancient China, the Summer Solstice was observed by a ceremony to celebrate the Earth, femininity, and the ‘yin’ forces. It complemented the Winter Solstice that celebrated the heavens, masculinity and ‘yang’ forces.”
In Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, Summer Solstice is a time of midsummer night festivities. This is the time when countries near the Arctic enjoy the Midnight Sun. People dance around the Maypoles and bonfires. Homes are lit up and decorated with violets and vanilla flowers.