What Does it Mean When We Say Tuesday is the Summer Solstice?
What are people talking about when they say that Tuesday is the first day of summer or refer to it as the 'summer solstice?'
We've already suffered through some serious heat so far this year in Louisiana and it's a little weird to realize that summer doesn't even officially begin until tomorrow, Tuesday, June 21, 2022. We've already recorded heat indices in the triple digits, so what gives?
What is the summer solstice?
In short, it's the longest day of the year and the official kickoff to summer. But Wikipedia gets a little more detailed:
The summer solstice occurs when the tilt of a planet's semi-axis, in either northern or southern hemispheres, is most inclined toward the star that it orbits.
The summer solstice occurs during a hemisphere's summer. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs some time between June 20 and June 22 in the northern hemisphere and between December 20 and December 23 each year in the southern hemisphere. The same dates in the opposite hemisphere are referred to as the winter solstice.
if I'm understanding this correctly, every day past this Tuesday until we reach the winter solstice will get progressively shorter. Isn't it amazing that hundreds of years ago, before we had calculators and telescopes and computers, people were able to track this kind of information? Mind blown! Of course, both the summer and winter solstices have long been associated with pagan and Wiccan practices. I imagine women in white gowns with flower crowns in their hair dancing barefoot in the woods chanting when I think of the summer solstice. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about that:
Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most recognize the event in some way with holidays, festivals, and rituals around that time with themes of religion or fertility.
Of course, the summer solstice is about more than a super long, hot day. A lot of people look at it as a spiritual day. Me? I just pray my A/C makes it through the summer!