The Longest Day of the Year

Solstice_AIt’s a shame, a day with up to 16 hours of continuous sunlight only happens once a year. The summer solstice will occur this year on Monday, June 20, so be sure to enjoy as much of that summer sun as you can.

A solstice happens twice each year, once in the winter sometime between Dec. 20 and 23 and once in the summer between June 20 and 22 in the northern hemisphere. The summer solstice marks the point at which the sun reaches its highest point in the sky at noon, technically making it the longest day of the year. In December, the opposite is true as the winter solstice is the point at which the sun is lowest in the sky at noon, making it the shortest day of the year. During a solstice, the tilt of the planet’s axis will reach its maximum axial tilt toward the sun at 23° 26’.

The term solstice is derived from the Latin word “solstitium” meaning “sun stopping,” which refers to the point on the horizon at which the sun rises and sets. During the June solstice, the sun rises slightly more toward the north, and sets more toward the south, making it visible for a longer period of time.

Interpretation of the day and the celebrations associated with it vary among regions, cultures, and religions. Traditions range from the Day of Private Reflection in Northern Ireland, aimed to reflect upon years of conflict with the United Kingdom, to International Surfing Day, established in 2004 and celebrated in coastal regions within North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

No matter how you choose to celebrate the day, it will always stand to represent something people can look forward to: the official start of the summer season.

Nicole Lockwood
Nicole Lockwood is the former editor of the Syosset Jericho Tribune and New Hyde Park Illustrated News.

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