By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
What is the summer solstice?

Many people anxiously await the first day of summer and look forward to activities that are tailor-made for warm weather. The first day of summer is known as the summer solstice, which marks the official start of astronomical summer. The solstice features more hours of daylight than any day of the year, according to The next summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurs on June 20, 2024 (the Southern Hemisphere celebrates the solstice on December 21, 2024).

The National Weather Service says the summer solstice happens at the moment the earth’s tilt toward the sun is at a maximum. The sun will appear in its highest elevation with a noontime position that will not move much for several days before and after the summer solstice. The word solstice is derived from the Latin word “sol,” meaning sun.

During the summer solstice, the sun travels the longest path through the sky, which is why it is the day with the most daylight. The length of daylight depends on the latitude. At the equator, the time from sunrise to sunset is about 12 hours.

Although many people celebrate the summer solstice primarily for the extra hours of daylight, the solstice has historically been assigned deeper meaning in many cultures. In Scandinavian countries, the solstice is celebrated as a holiday known as Midsummer’s Eve, which is observed on a weekend near the time of the summer solstice. Festivities include dancing, singing, drinking, cleaning house, lighting bonfires, and more.

During the summer solstice at Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the sun will rise behind the entrance to a stone circle and the sunlight will flow into the center of the monument. Researchers believe solstices have been celebrated at Stonehenge for thousands of years.