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  • Writer's pictureTrace Jared-Davis

Summer Solstice: What is it?

The summer solstice – otherwise known as the Estival solstice, midsummer or Litha – is the longest day of the year.

Official started last night (20th June 2020) at 22:46 it marked the start of the seasonal change, from spring into summer.

It occurs when the earth’s geographical pole on either the northern or southern hemisphere becomes most inclined towards the sun and officially marks the beginning of summer.

The weather has been a bit hit-and-miss lately but as we officially enter Summer 2020, we hope that the sun will stick around for a few months before winter arrives.

While the country remains in lock-down, measures are beginning to ease meaning we may be able to enjoy the summer with a few of our friends and family - at a distance of course.

How is the Summer Solstice celebrated?

For many years, the Summer Solstice is usually celebrated at Stonehenge.

However, due to the corona virus pandemic, celebrations at Stonehenge were cancelled this year.

The stones at the ancient monument are lined up to frame the rising of the Sun on the solstice, but it is not clear if marking summer solstice was indeed its purpose.

Nichola Tasker, Stonehenge director, explained to Essex LIVE: “We have consulted widely on whether we could have proceeded safely and we would have dearly liked to host the event as per usual, but sadly in the end, we feel we have no choice but to cancel.”

Summer Solstice is not just celebrated in the UK as it is celebrated across the globe including in Mexico and Sweden.

Royal Museums Greenwich added: “In the southern hemisphere, where the summer solstice occurs in December, the day is instead strongly associated with Christmas, having once been the day of its celebration until various calendar changes shifted the dates apart.”

Although official event were cancelled due to the pandemic, This didn't stop over a dozen individuals turning up to the ancient stone monument to celebrate the turn of the season, enduring the poor weather with umbrellas and blankets.

This event is usually attended by thousands of people from across the world, Most of who turned to the Stonehenge LIVE webcam feed to watch the solstice take place from the comfort of their own homes.

(Image: Ben Birchall/PA Wire)

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