The summer solstice (‘sol + stice’ from Latin, meaning ‘sun’ + ‘stand still’) arrives in the northern hemisphere this morning, June 21, at 7:28 am. It is the longest day of the year and a day was held in reverence by ancient people as a season of rebirth and renewal, the start of the summer growing season.
Around the world, the day is celebrated with bonfires, parades, maypole dances, parties and more. At Stonehenge, thousands gathered at sunset last night at the ancient pillars of stones as they awaited daybreak. Last year over 36,000 converged to keep vigil from sunset until they celebrate the rising sun aligning with the Heel Stone, following the rituals that many believe ancient pagans celebrated.
At New York City’s annual Solstice in Times Square, hundreds of celebrants will greet the summer solstice with tranquility and transcendence in perhaps the world’s largest yoga class. Amidst the city’s noises and activity, a sense of community in this gathering brings unanimity in honoring the season of growing.
This morning I will watch the sunrise, then join a community of neighborhood friends for breakfast and the first of our summer art activities. For me, the act of artistic creation is the beginning of another growing season where ideas and skills germinate and grow.
How will you spend the longest day of the year? Happy summer solstice!
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester