Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Sunrise Sunset"

It is officially summer!!  Whoo hoo!  Yesterday, June 21, marked the Summer Solstice, sometimes called Midsummer, sometimes Litha, and a variety of other names related to various ancient and historical practices, rituals, and beliefs.  Thousands gather at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise on this day every year and have been doing so for centuries.  Litha is one of the lesser holidays celebrated in Wiccan.  The Druids had a thing about the Midsummer moon, which they called the "honey moon".  They performed their marriages on this day.  (Guess you can connect the dots and figure out the whole honeymoon thing yourself, huh?) Shakespeare even wrote one of his most famous plays about this time of year.  

Being neither ancient nor Pagan (don't believe everything you hear!) I don't celebrate any rituals or practice any belief system related to the rising and setting of the sun or the moon. I don't get up in the middle of the night to be ready to greet the Midsummer Sun.  I'm already married, so I don't need the Druids to come fix that!  Nevertheless, this is one of my favorite days of the year. 

If I lived south of the Equator this would be the Winter Solstice!  That's all due to the rotation of the Earth and the Sun.  (Just don't ask me to explain how it works!!  I'm lucky I remember that much!)  Anyway, if I lived south of the Equator, this would be still be a lesser favorite day.  And none of that has anything (well....not MUCH of anything) with temperature.

Nope.  Its not the temperature, it is the amount of visible daylight! 

June 21 (or sometimes the 22) is the longest day of the year, and conversely, the shortest night.  Simply, more sun, and less dark!  (Except, of course, south of the the equator, where it is exactly the opposite.)  I look forward to this day every year.  I love the sun!  When the sun is shining I am generally a happier person.  So on Summer Solstice, I'm more likely to be having a happy day!  Even if it is a cloudy day, it doesn't matter too much, because its still light outside for a longer period of time.

When I think about it, it's a bit surprising that I don't celebrate any rituals or the like related to the sun, considering how I feel about it.  Not that I'm tempted to, you understand, but I can definite understand how all those ancient pagans felt!

The Winter Solstice in December (except south of the Equ....oh, I'm sure you got it already!  If not, go look it up!).  The Winter Solstice as I said, is the exact opposite:  it is the longest night and the shortest day.  That is not what I like about it exactly.  On December 21, it's true that we have the shortest day, BUT every day thereafter gets a few minutes longer than the one before until June 21 when summer appears again!.  I can live with that!

Of course, even if I vaguely understand about the northern and southern hemispheres, I have no idea what happens the closer you get to the Poles (either North or South).  I 've read that at the Poles, the days and nights can last for really wonky amounts of time, even all 24 hours!!  I don't really get that, but as it's really ABSOLUTELY FREAKIN' IMPOSSIBLE ....uhmm....unlikely that I will ever visit either Pole, I guess that doesn't matter.

So, I am glad to once again greet Summer, and especially the summer sun!  I welcome that early/late "Sunrise Sunset" thing with a happy heart!  Yes, June 21 is one of my favorites days.

.......Of course, it COULD also just be that my birthday is now only four days away!  Even if I lived south of the Equator!!!) 


  1. Happy early birthday!

    What a great way to look at the solstice. I just tend to have the attitude, "Well, since it's already been hot for so long, at least it's OFFICIAL now. And now that we're in summer, spring is that much closer." Not the best attitude...but I'm not fond of heat. :)

  2. Since it is close to midnight here, I'm going to go ahead and wish you HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you have a wonderful day. It is amazing how much the weather affects attitude. I'm also much happier when the sun is shinning. I'm afraid I'd be in bad shape if I lived some place where it rains a lot. Belated Happy Solstice! laurie


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