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Summer Solstice: Celebrating a phenomenon

A geographical phenomenon learnt in school, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year – the day in which we can enjoy approximately 17 hours of daylight. The word “Solstice” is derived from the Latin words Sol+systere, meaning “Sun”+ “standing still.” Following this Solstice, the days get shorter, the nights longer. This year, it falls on Thursday, June 21 at 3:37 PM IST.

Marking the end of spring in the northern hemisphere and the start of winter in the southern hemisphere, it brings a wave of celebrations around the world. Apart from being a geographical phenomenon, it is a time to reflect on the growth of the season. It’s a time of cleaning and renewal, a time of love and growth. This is the moment of our year when there is the most LIGHT available to us. 🌄

Different regions have different rituals and mannerisms to celebrate this bliss.

Throughout much of Europe, this day is referred to as St. John’s Day, a midsummer celebration. It is honoured with bonfires and dancing and in some cases a naked sprint around the town. Finland, Greece, Hungary, France and other countries have their own various ways of celebrations and rituals.

The Stonehenge is the greatest attraction during the solstice because it famously aligns with the solstices. The rising sun only reaches the middle of the stones one day of the year when it shines on the central altar. Built in three phases between 3,000 B.C. and 1,600 B.C Stonehenge’s exact purpose still remains a mystery.

In India and in many parts of USA too, this day has been earmarked as International Yoga Day. Mass events of yoga sessions are organized to celebrate the solstice.