International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice 2023
Each year on June 21, the International Day of Celebration for the Solstice is observed. This holiday was established by the United Nations in order to raise awareness about various solstice celebrations across religions and cultures. Many cultures and religions have their own unique way of celebrating the solstice.
While the significance, interpretations, and meanings behind the solstice (which occurs when the sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky at noon, resulting in the longest and shortest days) may differ based on culture, the International Day of the Solstice is a universally celebrated occasion that takes place during the summer solstice, between June 20 and 22.
A solstice marks the moment when the Sun reaches its farthest point north or south of the equator, resulting in the appearance of the Sun’s daily path “standing still” at its limit before reversing its direction.
- This natural phenomenon occurs twice a year, with the Summer Solstice occurring around June 21 and the Winter Solstice occurring around December 21.
- These solstices play a significant role in the determination of the seasons, agriculture and a multitude of cultural celebrations.
- An equinox, on the other hand, is the point in time when the center of the Sun is positioned directly above the equator, resulting in approximately equal periods of daytime and nighttime.
- These events occur twice a year, around March 20 and September 23, and are known as the Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes.
- Due to their connection with seasonality and symbolism, cultures worldwide have created traditions and celebrations around a combination of solstices, equinoxes, and the midpoint between them.
The International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice was established by the United Nations to honor and bring awareness to the significance of this event across various cultures and religions, irrespective of their origins.
- The solstice denotes the day when the Sun reaches its southernmost or northernmost limit in its pathway.
- When viewed from Earth, the Sun seems to come to a halt at its extreme limits, which led to the event being named ‘solstice’ derived from Latin words ‘sol’ (Sun) and ‘sistere’ (to stand still).
However, in reality, the Sun does not halt; it’s the Earth’s movements that cause the poles to tilt towards and away from the Sun. The summer solstice or midsummer marks the longest day of the year, occurring when one of Earth’s poles is tilted towards the Sun. While June is the month of summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, December is when it happens in the southern hemisphere.
The summer solstice holds great significance for many cultures historically, with various festivities, rituals, and ceremonies organised surrounding themes of religion, agriculture, and fertility. Acknowledging the universal significance of such celebrations and the symbolism they represent, the UN instituted the International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice, promoting mutual respect and harmony among diverse cultures.