Longest Day of the Year
The Summer Solstice
Each year, the timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This occurs annually on June 20 or June 21 in North America, depending on your time zone.
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice).
In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer. In the winter, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.
The Sun is directly overhead at its most northern point at "high-noon" on the summer solstice, creating more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere on this day than any other.
There are a few events going on in Vancouver to celelbrate the Summer Solstice. These may aslo inspire you to create your own unique celebration - and let's face it - summer is worth celelbrating!
Summer Solstice Cruiser Ride - Meet at The London Pub, 700 Main Street around 5:00 pm and will make our way via False Creek seawall to Kitsilano Beach and finish at Jericho Beach Sailing Club 1300 Discovery Street for the sunset and Great food and beverages at The Patio and Grill - Wear Hawaiian Shirts!
Summer Solstice Wine Festival
Wednesday June 20, 2012
It’s finally here! We’re closing our stores for the evening on Wednesday June 20th for this annual sun-soaked event, as we pay homage to our favourite time of the year! Seven wine agencies join us to feature incredible summer wine selections, paired with delicious food from local caterers and restaurants, and of course, live ertainment! Tickets always sell out, so don’t miss out on this fantastic event.
On the international level - probably the most famous place to celebrate the Summer Solstice is Stonehenge. This article from the Ottawa Citizen is a great read about the Top 10 Sunrises Aound the World. Stonehenge is at the top of the list.
Located in Salisbury in the south-west Wiltshire area of England, the true meaning of this ancient, awe-inspiring creation has been lost in the mists of time. Was Stonehenge a temple for sun worship, a healing centre, a burial site or perhaps a huge calendar? How did our ancestors manage to carry the mighty stones from so far away and then, using only the most primitive of tools, build this amazing structure? Surrounded by mystery, Stonehenge never fails to impress.
Each year on the 21 June visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge overnight to mark the summer solstice and to see the sunrise above the stones. At dawn the central Altar stone aligns with the Slaughter stone, Heel stone and the rising sun to the northeast.
The Summer Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to be there. It's an ad hoc celebration that brings together England's New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans, Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travelers and party people - 1000's of them!
For many the impulse to arrive at Stonehenge in time for the Solstice is akin to a spiritual experience. Anyone who has witnessed the crowd become silent as the sky begins to brighten can attest to that.
Whatever you decide to do to celelbrate the Summer Solstice, be sure to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and a renewal of seasons.
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Hope you've enjoyed this posting. If you have any questions, any little known facts or interesting Vancouver Stories or pictures you'd like to share, please feel free to contact me.
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