21st June: The Summer Solstice

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Stonehenge Solstice Sunrise (image courtesy and copyright Jane Wallace)

Stonehenge Solstice Sunrise (image courtesy and copyright Jane Wallace)

Once again, I am going to relate what I am learning in my Geology studies to today: the Summer Solstice.
As you might remember from your science classes at school, our planet takes just over 365 days to orbit the Sun, a process upon which our calendar year is based. The Earth’s axis is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees: different parts of the Earth receive varying amounts of sunlight during the year, giving us our four seasons. The Summer Solstice, on the 21st June, represents the longest day of the year. (It is different from “Midsummer Day” ( June 24 ), which is just one of the four quarter “legal calendar days”).
This event has been celebrated for thousands of years, and continues to be celebrated worldwide, in many different ways depending upon religion and culture – most notably at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice
The Druids’ celebration of the Summer Solstice, considered it to be the “wedding of Heaven and Earth”. Pagan festivals are common in June, and groups assemble to light a sacred fires, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn (nudity optional, I believe!).
Although in this modern day and age, I would not expect that many of us spent last night at stone circles waiting to welcome the Summer Solstice dawn in all its glory…. however, with all the wonderful weather we are having right now, I have received photos from friends of nature, sunsets and sunrises as everyone – subconsciously or not – has been out and about celebrating our beautiful nature.
So, this is what the Summer Solstice looked like according to the lovely photos I have received. Please add to these and tell us if and how you celebrate the Summer Solstice!

Sunrise on the Summer Solstice, Brynsiencyn, Isle of Anglesey (Julia)

Sunrise on the Summer Solstice, Brynsiencyn, Isle of Anglesey (Julia)

Sunrise on the Summer Solstice, Snowdonia (Dave)

Sunrise on the Summer Solstice, Snowdonia (Dave)

Cheshire, UK: Sunlight through the trees at Style Mill (Daisy)

Cheshire, UK: Sunlight through the trees at Style Mill (Daisy)

Update: 24th Jun 2010
Jane Wallace has sent some photographs she took at the Solstice Celebrations held at Stonehenge.

Solstice Revellers  at Stonehenge (image courtesy and copyright Jane Wallace)

Solstice Revellers at Stonehenge (image courtesy and copyright Jane Wallace)

Solstice Sunrise near Stonehenge (image courtesy and copyright Jane Wallace)

Solstice Sunrise near Stonehenge (image courtesy and copyright Jane Wallace)

Stonehenge Solstice Musicians (image courtesy and copyright Jane Wallace)

Stonehenge Solstice Musicians (image courtesy and copyright Jane Wallace)

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