Celebrating the Solstice!

Nicola here, talking about midsummer and using it as an excuse to post some gorgeous pictures! Yesterday marked the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day in the Southern.  The June solstice is considered to be the beginning of summer and it’s rather nice that finally the warm, sunny weather has arrived in the UK so it really does feel like summer here.

I’m reading in various places that the solstice today is the earliest since 1796. The dates of the solstice occur within a relatively small range (June 20th or 21st and December 21st or 22nd.) As 2024 is a leap year, the time of the solstice occurs a whole 18 hours earlier than it did last year. The last year a solstice was this early, 228 years ago, Napoleon and Josephine got married, Edward Jenner administered the first smallpox vaccine, George Washington issued his “Farewell Address” and “Auld Lang Syne” by Robert Burns was first published.

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Midsummer Celebrations

Midsommarstång Markus Bernet  CC BY-SA 2.5 httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa2.5  via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Markus Bernet

Christina here. In a few days it will be midsummer and as I’m going to be in Sweden then, I’ll be celebrating more than usual. Nordic summer nights are special and there’s nothing more special than midsummer – it’s a big deal in Sweden and should preferably be experienced in the countryside somewhere. People head out of the towns en masse in order to enjoy nature. Maybe because of the long, cold dark nights they have to put up with for half the year, they appreciate the light warm evenings of summer all the more. Summer is short, so this time is precious, and especially the longest night of the year.

This year summer solstice falls on Tuesday 21st June but here it's not always celebrated on the correct date. The Swedes have decided to always have Midsummer Eve on a Friday, so it can be any day between 19th and 25th June. But the sentiment is the same.

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