Today is the Summer Solstice.
In the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year (near June 22) when the Sun is farthest north. In the southern hemisphere, winter and summer solstices are exchanged. The summer solstice marks the first day of the season of summer. The declination of the Sun on the (northern) summer solstice is known as the tropic of cancer (23° 27').
The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, respectively, in the sense that the length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a maximum for the year.
So they are having Winter Solstice down under. I wonder how they celebrate it. We have co-opted it up here and smother it with Christmas. The Winter Solstice id my favorite holiday. I celebrate it instead of Christmas since it goes back so much further. How about the Summer Solstice? Read on below and find out.
Well indeed they do and where else butStonehenge. Thousands gathered there to mark this ancient holiday.
About 20,000 people crowded the prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain, southern England, to see the sunrise at 4:52 a.m. local time, following an annual all-night party.
The event typically draws thousands of alternative-minded revelers to the monument, as they wait for dawn at the Heel Stone, a pockmarked pillar just outside the circle proper, which aligns with the rising sun.
Unlike previous recent years, when the sunrise has been obscured by cloud - the bright sun bathed the monument in orange and gold on Monday.
"One time in maybe 10 we get a decent sunrise, and that was a good one," said Simon Banton, a 45-year-old education volunteer for English Heritage, the body that manages the site.
As the sun rose, a woman climbed a rock in the circle center and blew a horn, welcoming in the longest day of the year north of the equator. Drums, tambourines, and cheers reverberated in the background.
"It means a lot to us ... being British and following our pagan roots," said Victoria Campbell, who watched on, wearing a pair of white angel's wings and had a mass of multicolored flowers in her hair. The 29-year-old Londoner, who works in the finance industry, also said that "getting away from the city" was a major draw.
"It is stunning," said Stewart Dyer, a 43-year-old National Health Service worker and dancer on his first trip to the solstice celebration. "To actually be able to dance amongst the stones, to be able to touch the stones, to be that close to such an ancient monument is unbelievable."
The annual celebrations at Stonehenge, about 80 miles southwest of the capital, are a modern twist on solstice celebrations which were once a highlight of the pre-Christian calendar. They survive today largely in the form of bonfires, maypole dances and courtship rituals.
Interesting perspective I'd say. Here we have a holiday that goes back as far as we can look and it is an "alternative" of some sort. Oh well those Christians seem to need that idea.
I wonder why those of us who are concerned about what has been done to the earth system since Western "Civilization" has been on the scene do not get in touch with the people of various beliefs who may have treated our planet home with a bit more awe and respect. Just a thought to ponder. Happy Solstice all!