Sunrise at Stonehenge
The summer solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere when the earth’s axial tilt is most inclined toward the sun. This year that would be today, probably before you read this post, at 1:04 AM EDT on the east coast of the United States and at 5:04 AM UTC. The solstice is a mere moment in time, but we use the term freely to reference the day on which it occurs—the day of the year with the longest period of daylight and the shortest night.
Throughout history, many cultures have recognized the solstice as a sign of fertility and have observed the day with festivals, rituals, or other celebrations. Some pagans thought it a time of magic, a time when evil spirits appeared. They wore garlands of herbs and flowers to ward off evil intent.
Celebrating the solstice may be thought of as a pagan rite by some, yet in our modern times, many celebrate the day in various ways—music festivals, art shows, parties with bonfires, parades, and more. Thousands gather annually at Stonehenge in England to welcome the sunrise. Many years ago, I was fortunate to celebrate in a small town outside of Paris and enjoyed an array of musical events performed throughout the town. We strolled from venue to venue, a glass of wine in hand.
This year, I’ll spend some time in my garden during the morning and in the evening attend a classical concert on the lawn of a local college. How will you celebrate?