Know all about the Summer Solstice: Today the Northern Hemisphere marked the longest day as well as formally welcomed a new season. It's a time to enjoy the summer blossoms, warmth, food and festivities. The Summer Solstice is traditionally a festive day associated with the beginning of early dawns, late sunsets and shorter nights. In the southern half of the globe, it's the beginning of the winter season. This year, the Summer Solstice coincided with the 7th International Yoga Day.
What is Summer Solstice?
The Solstice is the beginning of the astronomical summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It ends with the autumn equinox on September 22. Solstice marks almost equal duration of day and night as the Sun crosses the Line of Equator and moves over the Northern Hemisphere. On June solstice, the Earth is positioned is a way that the North Pole tilts towards the Sun.
History and celebrations of Summer Solstice
Since time immemorial, cultures around the world have been celebrating Summer Solstice in various ways. These astronomical events were revered. "In Egypt, the Great Pyramids at Giza appear to be aligned with the sun as well. When viewed from the Sphinx, the sun sets between the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre during the summer solstice-though it remains unclear precisely how the ancient Egyptians oriented it this way," an article in the National Geographic says.
In the United States too, the 5,000-year-old iconic Stonehenge has a famous relationship with the solstices. People from all parts of the world travel to the enigmatic location to witness how the Heel Stone, outside the main circle of the Stonehenge lines up with the rising sun.