Today Friday the 21st of June….the longest day of the year…. why???
Solstice’ (Latin: ‘solstitium’) means ‘sun-stopping’. The point on the horizon where the sun appears to rise and set, stops and reverses direction after this day. On the solstice, the sun does not rise precisely in the east, but rises to the north of east and sets to the north of west, meaning it’s visible in the sky for a longer period of time.
Although the June solstice marks the first day of astronomical summer, it’s more common to use meteorological definitions of seasons, making the solstice midsummer or midwinter.
Solstices in Culture
Over the centuries, the June solstice has inspired countless festivals, midsummer celebrations and religious holidays.
One of the world’s oldest evidence of the Summer Solstice’s importance in culture is Stonehenge in England, a megalithic structure which clearly marks the moment of the June Solstice.
In the Southern Hemisphere, where the June solstice is known as the shortest day of the year, it marks the first day of astronomical winter, but the middle of winter in meteorological terms.
In ancient Greek times it was the day that the Gods held a meeting for it was this day their powers were at their strongest.
The summer solstice occurred exactly one month before the opening of the original Olympic Games. In addition, many festivals took place on and around the day of the solstice including Prometheia, which celebrated the Titan Prometheus, and Kronia, honoring the agricultural god Cronus. Although the Greek calendar varied depending on the region and time period, for many versions the summer solstice was also the first day of the New Year.
So, there you have it…welcome midsummer
Photos are taken from our Zakynthos Informer archives by our members, I’ve picked a few that caught my eye as I scolled down. To enjoy more of our beautiful Island please go to our photo gallery.