Summer Solstice for kids
June the 20th marks 2012′s Summer Solstice, the longest day in the year!
- What is a solstice?
- What are the traditions of Summer Solstice?
- How is it celebrated?
- What can I do to celebrate?
A solstice occurs twice a year and is the moment when the sun is at its maximum elevation. The name solstice comes from two latin words, ‘Sol’ meaning sun and ‘sistere’ meaning to cause to stand still.
As the solstice related to the maximum tilt of the Earth’s equator, these two dates in the year signify the longest (summer) and shortest (winter) days of the year. Thoughout the year, the sun rises higher and higher in the sky until it reaches the Summer Solstice, where it appears to stand still completely. For the rest of the year, it gradually rises lower and lower until it reaches its lowest point, the winter solstice.
Summer Solstice has been a celebrated event for thousands of years as people have been fascinated by the incredible power of the sun. The Celts used to light bonfires on the day the Summer Solstice occurred to help increase the sun’s energy. The Chinese marked the day by honouring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.
For Pagans, the Summer Solstice is an important festival. Pagans believe that the Goddess took over the earth from the horned God at the beginning of spring and she is now at the height of her power and fertility. Many believe that the summer solstice marks the marriage of the God and Goddess and believe this union brings harvest fruits.
Perhaps the most modern and widely accepted tradition of the Summer Solstice were the Druids’ celebration of the day as the ‘wedding of Heaven and Earth’. This lead to the current day belief of a lucky wedding in June.
In Wiltshire, many revelers, both Pagan and non-Pagan, meet at the ancient stone circle at Stonehenge to watch the sun rise on the Summer Solstice. The Heel stone and the Slaughter stone, which are set outside the main circle, align with the sun as it rises.
If the Summer Solstice interests you, how about you rise (very!) early to watch the sun rise with your little one? The sunrise tomorrow is at about 04:26 am.
If sunrise is a little early for you and your tots, how about you throw a Summer Solstice day of fun? Plan fun activities to play in the park and make a special picnic to take with you. How about you try some mum and toddler workouts for some summer sun?
Remember to protect your little one from the sun!
Photography: Taro Taylor @Flickr