International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice

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2024 Date21 June 2024
2025 Date21 June 2025

International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice

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International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice

The International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice is a worldwide observance, honouring the intrinsic significance of the solstices - the longest and shortest days of the year marked by these astronomical events. The day promotes the importance of cultural diversity, the preservation of ancient knowledge, and the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. At the heart of this celebration lies the recognition of society's deep-rooted connection to the sun as a source of life, wisdom, and renewal.

Solstice celebrations can be traced back to the Neolithic era when the ancient people of Europe and Asia acknowledged the sun's movement across the sky. The United Kingdom has a strong connection to these ancient traditions, with archaeological sites such as Stonehenge believed to be aligned with the solstices. The continued interest in these historic events underscores the importance of cultural preservation and the emphasis on environmental protection in contemporary times.

In the United Kingdom, various customs and activities celebrate the solstice, both in the summer and the winter. These traditions include the gathering of people at sacred sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury, where they witness the sunrise on the longest day of the year during the summer solstice. The winter solstice sees similar celebrations, with people marking the shortest day of the year with feasting, music, and dancing to revel in the returning light. The International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice is observed on June 21st, acknowledging the significance of the solstice in connecting mankind with the celestial realms.

Facts about this day

  • The word solstice comes from the Latin sol, meaning sun, and sistere, meaning to stand still.
  • The summer solstice is the day with the longest period of sunlight.
  • Inside the Arctic Circle (north of 66.5 degrees north) and the Antarctic Circle (south of 66.5 degrees south), there is a period in winter when the sun does not rise, and a period in summer when the sun does not set. These are known as Polar Night and Midnight Sun respectively.
  • Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire, England, is a prehistoric monument that has a significant connection to the summer solstice. It is believed that the monument was built around 2500 BCE to align with the sun's position during the solstice.
  • The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, with daylight lasting for around 17 hours in the UK. Conversely, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, with daylight lasting for about 7 hours and 40 minutes.

Top things to do in the UK for this observance

  • Enjoy the summer season by planning a trip involving the outdoors. You could go hiking, fishing, or swimming.
  • Visit Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England to witness the summer solstice like never before. There are live streams available online if traveling isn't an option.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about the history of the summer solstice in the United Kingdom. Here are our top picks:
    1. Stonehenge: A Midsummer Night's Dream (2014) – This History Channel documentary looks at the importance of Stonehenge as a site for summer solstice celebrations throughout history and the theories surrounding its original purpose.
    2. Britain's Ancient Tracks with Tony Robinson: Avebury to Stonehenge (2016) – This documentary explores the ancient pathways that connect Avebury and Stonehenge, two of the UK's most significant summer solstice sites.
    3. A History of Ancient Britain: Age of Cosmology (2011) – This BBC documentary series, presented by Neil Oliver, takes a broader look at Britain's ancient past, including the significance of the summer solstice
  • Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, attracts thousands of people each year for the summer solstice. Gather around the ancient site to watch the sun rise above the Heel Stone, celebrating with music, dancing, and other festivities.

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