In 2020, the summer solstice is on Saturday 20 June – the longest day of the year.
The summer solstice is coming up and we can't wait to celebrate the mornings and evenings start getting lighter (opens in new tab). Here in the UK, that means we’re set to enjoy 16 hours and 38 minutes of sunlight. The sun will rise at 4:43am and set at 21:21pm.
Summer solstice usually falls between 20-22 June. It marks the astronomical start of summer for all of us living in the northern hemisphere.
It occurs when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. That means we get more daylight than at any other time in the year. While we celebrate the summer solstice, our friends in the southern hemisphere will be having their winter solstice.
After the summer solstice, days will begin to get shorter. By the autumn equinox on 22 September, day and night will be completely equal in length. After that, days will continue to shorten until the winter solstice. That's the longest night of the year.
Celebrating the summer solstice 2020
For generations, communities around the world have celebrated the summer solstice. That’s because because the sun is the bringer of light, life and a bountiful harvest.
Feasts, picnics and general merriment are commonplace to honour the longest day of the year and the start of summer. In towns across the country, we usually have summer solstice festivals. Revellers gather to watch the sunrise, light bonfires and dance the day away around a maypole.
Traditionally, the summer solstice has also held great significance amongst spiritual circles, with religious groups such as the Pagans worshipping the power of the sun and its life-giving properties.
In fact, the world-famous and age-old Pagan solstice gathering at Stonehenge marks what was believed to be the middle of summer in ancient times. Midsummer Day is the only day of the year when the sun shines on the monument’s central altar.
But while celebrations around the country have been put on ice this year due to the current pandemic, there are lots of fun ways you can celebrate the solstice from home.
Summer solstice 20202 activities
Get crafty with the kids and make floral crowns – a midsummer tradition they’ll love, even if it's as simple as a daisy chain circlet.
Making a collage with nature finds will also go down a treat – a sun-themed one would be ideal.
Plant some sunflowers – the seedheads will be a great autumn harvest for birds.
Make a suncatcher
Cut two circular pieces of cardboard or remove the inside of two paper plates.
Get your child to paint them yellow, silver or gold.
Glue petals, sequins, coloured tissue paper, anything they fancy to a circle cut from a plastic file pocket.
Cut another circle to enclose the treasures and glue both together.
Enclose the pretty plastic circle inside the cardboard circles and glue shut, then thread through string to hang it up.
Dangle near windows, where they will capture the sun’s light and create rainbows on the walls.
For a really colourful idea, take a look at our giude on how to make a rainbow sun catcher. (opens in new tab)
Even simpler, try hanging old CDs, or shiny treasures like beads or glitter pictures around the garden to bounce around the light.
Summer solstice is traditionally a time to banish darkness and usher in light. Yoga is a great way to release old, negative energy and welcome in the light. The summer solstice has actually been named International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly. So try a calming meditation or some flowing sun salutations.
Whatever you do though, be sure to spend as much time as possible outside, basking in the life-giving sunlight (with a good SPF sun cream to hand, of course).
With 16-plus hours of sunlight, there's heaps of time to enjoy some outdoorsy fun.
Words by Cecily Rowland
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