Summer Solstice: The Meaning and History Behind the First Day of Summer

The summer solstice sets off the official start of summer as the Northern Hemisphere angles itself at the point in its orbit closest to the sun, causing the longest day and shortest night of the calendar year.

Many cultures, both ancient and modern, celebrate the sunlight with rituals and holidays.

What is the summer solstice?

The term solstice comes from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “stitium” (still or stopped). It is used to describe the exact moment when the poles are tilted at their maximum toward or away from the sun.

The summer solstice occurs when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer, which is the circle marking the latitude 23.5 degrees north, and which runs through …

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