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All That You Wanted To Know About Summer Solstice Celebration And Didn't Know Who To Ask!
What is Summer Solstice?
The summer solstice occurs when one of earth’s poles is tilted maximum towards the sun. On summer solstice, the sun is at its highest point in the sky. It is the longest day in the year when we get the most daylight hours in the entire year. Summer solstice originates from the Latin word solstitium – sol, which means sun, and stitium, which means standing, translating literally to ‘the sun stands still’. The summer solstice occurs twice in a year – in June in the northern hemisphere, and in December in the southern hemisphere.
Australia, being in the southern hemisphere, will be celebrating the special day on December 22, 2021, when the sun reaches the highest point in the Australian sky.
History of Summer Solstice Celebrations
Celebration of the summer solstice dates back to ancient times and also has spiritual connotations. It has been linked to both Christian St John the Baptist as well as pagan rituals. The Romans honoured the goddess of home and hearth, Vestalia, while tribes like the Slavic, Celtic, and Germanic celebrated the sun by lighting ...
... bonfires to ensure a good harvest. Besides, it was also considered to be a way to keep evil spirits at bay. The Vikings supposedly used the day of the summer solstice to attend to legal matters and settle disputes, besides also building huge bonfires. Summer solstice has been associated with abundance and fertility for years.
How do people celebrate summer solstice today?
In the United Kingdom, people gather at the Stonehenge, the Neolithic monument in Wiltshire, to watch the perfect sunrise, while other countries in Europe celebrate the summer solstice with festivities that include great food, magnificent bonfires, fireworks, people wearing wreath made of the season’s flowers, maypole, and other folk dances. In Iceland, the day with the longest daylight hour is celebrated musically at the Secret Solstice Midnight Sun Music Festival.
This year, Australia is said to have 14 hours and 24 minutes of daylight on summer solstice. Typically, Australians make the most of the summer solstice by getting outdoors, enjoying the long sunny day with picnics, barbecues, outdoor parties, a trip to the beach, bonfires, and cooking with fresh, bright, and sun coloured summer produce. Culinary creativity is at its best as gourmand experiments with food to celebrate the summer solstice and the abundance provided by the sun. Some even bake solstice cookies and breads embellished with yellow herbs and flowers to be eaten at get-togethers with family and friends and honour the power of the sun. People decorate their homes with summer flowers, and garlands, and put-up lights to make the day extra special.
Celebrations at the Australian Standing Stones
A lot of Australian’s head to the Glen Innes Highlands in New South Wales to participate in the ancient solstice celebration at the legendary Australian Standing Stones. History has it that the ancient Celts, farming people, raised the stones which worked as calendars to keep track of the changes in season. This worked as indicators about when they must sow and when they must reap the crops. The Celts lived in Europe and the British Isles more than 25,000 years ago. They also celebrated both the summer and winter solstices with great enthusiasm.
Even today, on the day of the summer solstice, the Celtic descendants conduct a ceremony at the Australian Standing stones at the time when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. The ceremony is presided over by the Australian Standing Stones Management Board Chair as well as the guardians of the stone. At 11: 30 am, the service begins with a piper, followed by a talk on how the standing stones measure the solar noon.
The ceremony is held by one of the Stones whose shadow crosses markers, a set of ground level plaques, at noon. This invigorating program is followed by lunch at the Stone Cottage.
What better way to celebrate summer solstice and pay homage to the sun than by giving a tribute to the ancient traditions and cultures of your nation? To know more about the benefits of the sun and solar energy, do visit our Solar Power Nation.
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