Everything You Should Know About the Longest Day of the Year
The Summer Solstice is approaching. That powerful planetary moment when the tilt of the Earth brings us closest to the sun.
This is an extremely powerful moment in our year and here’s why …
1) The Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year.
Since the Winter Solstice the days have been slowly growing longer, as the Earth began tilting back toward the sun.
In those darker days of winter, we are more inward focused. Physically, we wanted to be inside. Cozy & snuggled. Mentally, it was a time of dreaming, manifesting & planning.
But as the Earth started tilting back toward the sun our spirits began to wake up. We moved out of those more inward-focused days and started stretching outward. Spring is like waking up in the morning, getting out of bed & strrrrrrrrretching.
Here, at the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, we are fully awake. Our spirits are alive, refreshed, renewed, energized; all that good, juicy, rich stuff we feel in the sun.
On these long days of summer our spirits yearn to be out, to feel alive, to be moving, and celebrating.
2) We’re the closest to the sun that we’ll be all year.
That means we are currently being bathed in the energy of the sun.
The sun is, literally, all fire. And for nearly 24 hours a day right now the northern hemisphere is just soaking up all that fierce, intense, electrifying, invigorating, exhilarating energy.
That means there is an absolute abundance of that rich fire energy available for you & me to soak up as well. We can use that energy to inspire up, to uplift us, to energize us. To light our fires.
Now is the time to embrace your fiery badass self. To soak up that energy and let it fuel you.
3) The Solstice is a global moment.
This, I think, is pretty neat.
The Summer Solstice is a precise planetary moment when the Earth’s tilt reaches its zenith. It’s not a day, or a time (like the New Year), which is celebrated at various times throughout the day as the the Earth rotates through its time zones. The Solstice happens at an exact moment; the same moment everywhere on Earth. (In the southern hemisphere this is actually the moment of their Winter Solstice.)
I love this. It reminds me that I’m part of a global community. It makes me feel connected, for a moment, to everyone else on Earth.
This year I plan to set an alarm for myself so I remember to step outside at the moment of the Solstice. To be outside, pause, and be present and mindful in this global moment. I challenge you to do the same.
Find the exact time of the Summer Solstice where you are, here.
4) The Solstice is a peak. A climax. A completion.
Ever since the Winter Solstice, the sun has been slowly growing and the days have steadily been getting longer. On the Summer Solstice, the sun reaches its peak and it completes its cycle of growth.
This makes the Summer Solstice an excellent time to reflect on peak moments in your own life. What accomplishments have you completed that you feel really proud of?
5) After the Solstice the days start getting shorter.
After the Solstice, the northern hemisphere begins tilting away from the sun and the days start growing shorter again. This can make your spirit feel a little bit sad, despite your excitement and anticipation for summer.
Even though it’s only June, we’re already beginning the shift inward again. The days will continue to grow shorter until the Winter Solstice–when the sun is reborn and we begin the cycle of growth all over again.
Celebrating the Solstice
Go strawberry picking. Enjoy a big bowl of strawberries and cream on the solstice.
There are many people—like the Swedes—who celebrate the beginning of summer by eating the first strawberries of the season. Indulging in some strawberries and cream is the perfect way to celebrate the June solstice, since June’s full Moon is also known as the Strawberry Moon. It typically coincided with the ripening of strawberries in what is now the northeastern and midwestern United States. In fact, in many states, this is the perfect time to go strawberry picking! Look up pick-your-own-strawberry farms in your area!
Have a solstice evening bonfire!
Many northern people also celebrate a solstice holiday known as Midsummer’s Day on June 24, which is one of the four ancient quarter days of the year. The eve prior is called Midsummer’s Eve, marking the shortest night of the year. A common way to celebrate is to have a bonfire party! After all, these northern people have emerged from some long, dark winters! In the Austrian state of Tyrol, torches and bonfires are lit up on mountainsides, which is a stunningly beautiful sight.
According to ancient Latvian legend, Midsummer’s Eve (St. John’s Eve) on June 23 is spent awake by the glow of a bonfire and in pursuit of a magical fern flower—said to bring good luck—before cleansing one’s face in the morning dew.
Solstice Fun Facts
The solstice does NOT bring the earliest sunrise
Although the day of the solstice has the most daylight hours of the year, the earliest sunrises of the year occur before the summer solstice. The exact timing will depend in part on your latitude: In the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, it occurs about a week earlier than the June solstice.
The reason for the timing of sunrises is related to the inclination of the Earth’s rotational axis and Earth’s elliptical (rather than circular) orbit.
The latest sunsets of the year will occur several days after the solstice, again depending on latitude.
The Sun sets more slowly at the solstice
Did you know that the Sun actually sets more slowly around the time of a solstice, in that it takes longer to set below the horizon? This is related to the angle of the setting Sun. The farther the Sun sets from due west along the horizon, the shallower the angle of the setting Sun. (Conversely, it’s faster at or near the equinoxes.) Bottom-line, enjoy those long romantic summertime sunsets at or near the solstice!
Summer Solstice Folklore
- Deep snow in winter, tall grain in summer. –Estonian proverb
- When the summer birds take their flight, goes the summer with them.
- If it rains on Midsummer’s Eve, the filbert crops will be spoiled. –Unknown
- One swallow never made a summer.
- Easterly winds from May 19 to the 21 indicate a dry summer.
- If there are many falling stars during a clear summer evening, expect thunder. If there are none, expect fine weather.