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Summer Solstice 2024: Celebrating the First Day of Summer

Celebrate the summer solstice on June 20, the longest day of the year. Enjoy strawberries, Stonehenge, and the strawberry moon.

The summer solstice, occurring on June 20th in the Northern Hemisphere this year, signifies the longest day of the year when the Tropic of Cancer aligns directly with the sun. This phenomenon is derived from the Latin words "sol" meaning sun and "sistere" meaning to stand still. As the Northern Hemisphere basks in the sun's rays, the Southern Hemisphere experiences its shortest day of the year, marking the winter solstice.

The astronomical significance of the summer solstice is celebrated worldwide with various traditions. In Sweden, the first harvested strawberries of the season are consumed to honor the June solstice. Meanwhile, the iconic Stonehenge serves as a gathering place for revelers to witness the sun align perfectly with the stone circle during both the summer and winter solstices.

Stonehenge's origins and purpose have long been debated, with theories ranging from a coronation site for Danish kings to an astronomical computer for predicting celestial events. English Heritage suggests that the site was likely a prehistoric temple aligned with the movements of the sun, as evidenced by the stones' alignment with the solstices.

This year's summer solstice coincides with the first full moon of the summer, known as the strawberry moon. Despite its name, the moon will not appear pink or red; rather, it is named after Indigenous tribes who observed its timing with the strawberry harvest. As the sun stands still on this longest day, the strawberry moon illuminates the night sky, marking a celestial celebration of the changing seasons.

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