Celebrate the Summer Solstice: Friday, June 21
Published on Monday, June 10, 2013 - 1:55pm
What is the summer solstice? Also called "midsummer," it is the longest day of the whole year! All over the world and since time began, people have celebrated this extra long, extra special day.
The word "solstice" is a combination of two Latin words that mean "sun" and "stand still", because that's what it looks like the sun is doing when it's up for so long. Technically, it's when our hemisphere is tilted closest to the sun. That's what makes it such a long, sunny day. All the days before it start out short, then get longer and longer; all the days after the summer solstice start long but gradually become shorter and shorter, until the darkest day and longest night of the year, the winter solstice. (Don't worry -- that's a long way off.)
People all over the world enjoy this day in many different ways. I, for one, wake up early, go to bed late and play outside in the sun as much as possible. Good thing it's not on a school night this year!
Enhance your solstice festivities by learning more about the sun, the planets and the history of midsummer celebrations! Here are a few great titles:
- The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice by Wendy Pfeiffer
- The Summer Solstice by Ellen B. Jackson
- Under Alaska's Midnight Sun by Deb Vanasse
- Solar System: A Visual Exploration of the Planets, Moons, and Other Heavenly Bodies That Orbit Our Sun by Marcus Chown