On June 21st, the summer solstice brought us the longest day of the year. Whether you were romping around in the extra sunshine or staying cool indoors, the summer solstice is a reason to celebrate! Explaining the day to your child can be fun and educational.
Even though it may feel sad to realize each day after the solstice will get darker and darker sooner, it’s a great summer experience. It may also be confusing to some as it’s the first day of summer despite the fact that it’s towards the end of June, which is almost a third into the summer season. But it’s a tradition that’s been celebrated for centuries, as sunshine is always a positive when it comes to crops and soaking up the full appreciation of the summertime. All throughout the world, the summer solstice hits and people can’t help but celebrate and hold rituals to showcase the importance of the sun.
Humans have celebrated and looked forward to the solstice as it was a means for them to know when and how to plant crops and when to harvest. The Aztecs and Mayans used the summer and winter solstices to help build structures that showcased the moving sunlight and i’s shadows. Many cultures and countries used the summer solstice as a countdown or the beginning of certain traditions or events, such as the Olympian games with the Greeks.
Grateful for the Sun
The word solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium, where “sol” meaning Sun, and stitium meaning still or stopped. And the solstice won’t happen on the same date every year, although it’s always between the 20th and 22nd of June. It was called Midsummer earlier in our history, and some people still see it as the middle of the summer. Most Americans see it as the beginning of summer, however, and Midsummer has become more of a Shakespearean theme than anything.
What the solstice means to you and your traditions will of course, vary all across the globe. It’s always fun to get out and enjoy the weather, but sometimes its also great to simply be grateful for the sun and all it does for us. However, you want your children to learn about the solstice, be sure to include some outdoor time!