Let the Sunshine In: Summer Solstice 2013 from Alaska to Hawaii

Today, the longest day of the year, brings many hours of golden sunlight to the northern hemisphere.

Welcome to the Summer solstice!

(Apologies to those of you in the southern hemisphere for whom it is the winter solstice today…at least the days will get longer and brighter from here on out.)

Speaking of sun, here is a never-ending loop of sunrises and sunsets from the WeatherBug Weather Cam at the Ka Waihona O Ka Na Auao station in Waianae, Hawaii.  Watch the shadows rise and fall below:

weatherbug-weather-camera-hawaii

Credit: The WeatherBug Weather Cam
Ka Waihona O Ka Na Auao station
Waianae, Honolulu, Hawaii

To honor this longest day of the year, here are some ways that different cultures celebrate the Summer solstice.

The word solstice comes from the Latin sol sistere – “sun stand still”, a day when the sun seems to hang almost frozen in the sky. It has long been considered an important date, from ancient times when farmers would use the solstice to plant or harvest crops, to many people scheduling their weddings for the sunny days and lingering sunsets of late June.

Pagans celebrate the midsummer day with merriment and bonfires, and similarly the Germanic, Slav, and Celtic tribes burn bonfires in celebration.

Sioux Native Americans honor the sun and celebrate by painting their bodies in the symbolic colors of red (sunset), blue (sky), yellow (lightning), white (light), and black (night).

Anchorage Alaska Sun Paxton Woelber

Credit: Paxson Woelber via Flickr
Bonfiring under the (almost) midnight sun in Anchorage, Alaska.

In addition to many traditions of yore, there are many modern-day ways to celebrate the solstice as well, from being outside to seeing the sun seem to ‘sit’ on the uppermost level of Stonehenge, and even playing midnight baseball in Alaska.  More on that here: http://weather.weatherbug.com/weather-news/weather-reports.html?zcode=z6286&story=14986

Happy Summer!

- The WeatherBug Team

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