Summer Solstice occurs when the sun reaches its zenith. It provides the longest period of daylight in the northern hemisphere. Summer solstice derives from the Latin sol (sun) and sistera (to stand still).
Cultures around the world hold events to celebrate Solstice.
The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires. They feel it helped to increase the Sun's energy.
The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.
The Pagan Festival of Litha, celebrated by Druids, venerates the Solstice as the "wedding of Heaven and Earth.” Druidism worships nature and believes in the spirits of mountains, and divine guides.
Stonehenge, in southern England, holds the largest festival. Here, more than 350 mounds surround a stone circle at the center. Dating back to 3100 BC, Neolithic people started the construction. Experts cannot agree on whether Stonehenge served as a temple, a burial ground, or an astronomy site. Nobody can figure out for sure how the stones were erected. Mysteries abound in the region.
Starting at midnight on the eve of Summer Solstice, revelers, spiritualists and tourists gather to dance around the fire, star gaze and hug the stones at Stonehenge. They wear robes and flowers to celebrate the year’s longest day.
The summer solstice is one of the rare occasions in the year when open access to the stones is allowed by English Heritage, custodians of the monuments.
Enjoy your celebration of Summer Solstice.
Imagine yourself reveling at Stonehenge near the fire. Think about Shakespeare and have a "Midsummer Night's Dream."