Summer Solstice, which is on June 20, is essentially a geographical phenomenon. Before we delve into the depths of the whys and the hows, it would be worthwhile to make it clear at the very onset that it has a lot of other aspects that must be taken into consideration if we are to understand the vast gamut of associations that can be linked to this annual event. These aspects can be cultural, traditional or merely symbolic. If we are to fully comprehend the significance of the term ‘summer solstice’, let us begin by the geographical explanations.
The sun is directly overhead a particular latitude in the north and south of the equator every year. It is the latitude of twenty three and a half degrees on either side. When the sun is on that particular latitude in the north, it is called summer solstice. Similarly, when the sun is on the same degree in the southern hemisphere, it is called winter solstice. In Latin, solstice means ‘to stand still’. This is the last latitude to have the sun directly overhead. Then on, the degrees recede and the sun is directly overhead the equator and finally, into the southern hemisphere. This is the cycle. Therefore, June 20 is the longest in the northern hemisphere and consequently, the night is the shortest.
Summer solstice is the peak of summer. Snow begins to thaw in places where they had not budged previously. That is why the summer solstice is looked upon as the ‘beginning of something’ in many cultures. There are festivities and events in many regions.
It can also be interpreted as a new dawn in terms of relationships. If you had been going through a rather rough patch in with your love, this is the time to let the sun pierce through the veils of darkness that have lately accumulated between the two of you. Studies suggest that people are in their cheerful best when the weather is good and breezy. The warm glow of the lovely weather does a lot of good to evaporate the drudgery that had rusted your soul during the long, dull and monotonous winter. It is time to throw of the shackles and disperse the gloomy fog.
Summer Solstice is the time for celebrations galore. Anyway, you do not need an excuse to bask in the warm sunlight. Just go out and revel in the myriad colors of summer. It is a shot-lived joy that Nature herself offers us. This is the time for people who love outdoor activities. Since your energy levels are on a high, you also feel like doing work that you have been pushing around through the year! The length of the days being long, you also get a lot of time to spend outdoors.
A special mention must be made of the setting sun, as Shelley put it – ‘In the golden lightning/ Of the sunken sun’. Its one of those rare pleasures in life that come to you irrespective of your social or economic status. You just need to have a heart that appreciates beauty. Make sure you have a field day!