Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice!

If you live in the US, it's already happened...the sun has reached the northern most point in the sky resulting in the longest day of the year (actually this occurred in the middle of the night where I live). Regardless, today is technically the 1st day of summer! 

This photo by Thierry Legault shows the International Space Station as it crosses the face of the sun!

Of course, thousands gathered to welcome the sun this morning at Stonehenge. Although scientists and anthropologists are still not certain why it was built, the alignment on the solstices would be something to see (yes, I would love to be there!).

 In ancient China, the summer solstice was observed by a ceremony to celebrate the Earth, femininity, and the “yin” forces. It complemented the winter solstice that celebrated the heavens, masculinity and “yang” forces. According to Chinese tradition, the shortest shadow is found on the day of summer solstice.

 In North America, many Native American tribes held ritual dances to honor the sun. The Sioux were known to hold one of the most spectacular rituals. Usually performed during the June solstice, preparations for the dance included cutting and raising a tree that would be considered a visible connection between the heavens and Earth, and setting up teepees in a circle to represent the cosmos. Participants abstained from food and drink during the dance itself. Their bodies were decorated in the symbolic colors of red (sunset), blue (sky), yellow (lightning), white (light), and black (night). (information found here)

However you choose to celebrate the day, it most certainly tells those of us who live in the "Sunny" South that hot and muggy days are ahead. It's probably a good time to locate a good place to go swimming when the heat becomes unbearable. Happy Solstice!

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