Happy Summer Solstice!
According to PAGASA, Philippine nights are at their shortest and daytimes are at their longest around the Summer solstice, which falls on June 22 at 1:16 A.M. (Philippine Standard Time). This is the time when the Sun attains its greatest declination of +23.5 degrees and passes directly overhead at noon for all observers at latitude 23.5 degrees North, which is known as the Tropic of Cancer.
Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” + “to stand still.” As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky.
Celebrating the Summer Solstice
Amazed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer otherwise known as the Summer Solstice, Midsummer (see Shakespeare), St. John’s Day, or the Wiccan Litha.
Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids’ celebration of the day as the “wedding of Heaven and Earth”, resulting in the present day belief of a “lucky” wedding in June.
Today, the day is still celebrated around the world – most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.
Whatever religious, mystical or spiritual elements were central to Stonehenge, some archaeologists say that its design includes a celestial observatory function, which might have allowed prediction of eclipse, solstice, equinox and other celestial events important to a contemporary religion.
As a matter of fact, when one stands within Stonehenge (facing north-east through the entrance towards the Heel stone or Sun stone one sees the sun rise above the stone at summer solstice.