The Summer Solstice falls this year on June 21st. Also known as Midsummer’s Day, it’s the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, when we can look forward to 17 hours of daylight. Time spent outdoors is the best way to celebrate the solstice and being closer to nature is the key to enjoying this special day.
The solstice occurs when the Earth’s tilt is closest to the sun and it’s been celebrated and honoured across the globe for millennia. Also known as Litha in Pagan religions, festivals and celebrations that mark this day are held from sunrise to sunset – to reflect the extended hours of sunshine.
The day is celebrated the world over in ways that range from small intimate gatherings to large bonfire rituals held at noon when the sun is at its highest. In the UK one of the most significant events of the day is held at Stonehenge, as it has been for thousands of years.
Stonehenge dates back to 3000BC, it’s a World Heritage Site and is the go-to destination for many to welcome the Summer Solstice. From a certain vantage point within the stone circle the sun can be seen rising directly over the Heel Stone, a major stone set just outside the main circle of the monolith. Why Stonehenge was built is still up for debate and study but it’s widely believed that the stones were used to calculate and observe the movements of the sun, moon and stars to dictate and plan the agricultural calendar, though it’s also thought to have enormous spiritual significance too, probably being used for worship, funerals and healing ceremonies.
However you choose to spend the day, happy Summer Solstice, here’s to more sun!