What Is The Summer Solstice? 9 Facts About The Longest Day Of The Year

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With spring coming to close, it's time to welcome the wonderful season of summer. And with such a pivotal moment coming up, you might be wondering what is the summer solstice, exactly. The term is thrown around quite often, but it's rarely fully explained. And contrary to what you might think, the term "summer solstice" has so much more meaning than the simple concept of summer.

Basically, the summer solstice marks a period in the course of Earth's rotation. I mean, one must admit how amazing our planet is. Because of the way Earth does its thing around the sun, we experience seasons and weather that determine the ebb and flow of the year. It also influences our daily lives, moods, and memories. And while it's easy to feel like whatever is going on "out there" doesn't impact us here on Earth, it's safe to say that this is simply not true. Everything is so much more connected than we realize.

And with a summer solstice coming up fast, I decided to scope out some basic facts on this important period. Hopefully, this list will help you appreciate this even more — along with the rooftop parties and beach trips, of course.

Happy summer solstice!

1. There are two different summer solstices

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The summer solstice that you experience totally depends on where you are in the world. In the Northern Hemisphere, a summer solstice occurs in June. For our friends down under in the Southern Hemisphere, summer solstice happens in December.

2. Our summer solstice happens on June 20 this year

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Depending on the year, a summer solstice happens anywhere from June 20 to 22. For North Americans, the summer solstice occurs on Monday, June 20. As for specific times? That depends on the time zone that you're in.

3. The sun shines on the Tropic of Cancer

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As the Earth does its thing around the sun, it is always tilted at a 23.5 degree angle. This makes the the latitude 23.5 degrees north of the equator especially important. At this spot, there's an imaginary line called the Tropic of Cancer. When the sun hits this latitude, a summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurs.

4. A winter solstice happens at the same time

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While this is happening, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere experience a winter solstice. Our winter and summer solstices are opposite of theirs. Later on in the year — December, to be exact — the sun hits the imaginary line of Tropic of Capricorn, located at 23.5 degrees below the equator. Countries such as Australia experience summer at this time.

5. It is the longest day of the year

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There's a reason why the summer solstice is worth celebrating — it has the most daylight hours. In other words, this day is the longest one of the year paired with the shortest night. That means an earlier sunrise, a later sunset, and about 12 hours of summery goodness.

6. It marks the beginning of summer

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After a chilly winter and a spring full of allergies, there's nothing quite like welcoming the summer season. The summer solstice is the official start point for the new season.

7. It is also known as St. John's Day

In Northern Europe, this time of the year is also known as St. John's Day. The period around this time is also known as midsummer.

8. The most notable celebration is in England

In Wiltshire, England, the summer solstice is so revered that there is a three-day festival just for the occasion. Known as Stonehenge Summer Solstice, this celebration is all about worshiping the longest day of the year. The party goes down from June 18-21.

9. It is also widely celebrated in Santa Barbara, California

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On our side of the pond, there's an enormous celebration in Santa Barbara, Calif. Simply called the Summer Solstice Celebration, this event is comprised by a parade on June 25 and a three-day festival June 24-26. If you can join in on the fun, get ready for bright colors, vibrant performers, and groove-worthy tunes.

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