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On Wednesday, June 21, 2023, Northern Hemisphere residents will celebrate the astronomical start of summer. Also known as the June solstice, it is the day when the North Pole is most inclined toward the Sun. This means those in the Northern Hemisphere will enjoy the longest day of 2023. Conversely, residents of the Southern Hemisphere will mark the first day of winter with the shortest day of the year.
While the celebrations last all day, the solstice occurs when the Sun is over the Tropic of Cancer. In 2023, this will be at 10:58 AM Eastern time (7:58 AM Pacific time). All countries north of the equator will enjoy at least 12 hours of daylight on June 21. However, many will get a lot more daytime depending on their proximity to the North Pole.
The residents of San Francisco, CA, will bask in over 14 hours of sunshine, while those living in London, UK, will enjoy just over 18 hours. The Swedish city of Stockholm will experience 21 hours of light, and some areas of the Arctic Circle will enjoy a 24-hour-long day!
The summer solstice is observed worldwide with many exciting events. One of the oldest and most revered celebrations takes place at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. Thousands of people visit the prehistoric monument at dawn every year to witness the rising Sun. In Sweden, residents give their loved ones flower wreaths and crowns. They are believed to bring good health. Many also mark the occasion with traditional dances around a midsummer pole adorned with greenery and flowers.
Alaska marks the June solstice over several days with various events. They include festivals and marathons. The most unusual is the Midnight Sun Game in Fairbanks. The fun tradition dates back to 1906 and involves playing baseball without artificial light.
Does your town or city have a unique summer solstice ritual? Be sure to let us know by adding your comments below.
Resources: Businessinsider.com, explorefairbanks.com, almanac.com, wikipedia.org