It’s the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere which occurs around June 21 or so, when the Sun enters the Cardinal sign of Cancer. The Sun rises and sets at the greatest northern distance from the equator, and it achieves the greatest elevation in the sky at midday. Summer officially begins with the longest day of the year and the shortest night in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the reverse is true: This is the shortest day of the year and the longest night.
Many traditional holidays were observed at this time, usually praying for success of the crops and also acknowledging the eventual decline of light and return of darkness. Although it’s officially the beginning of summer, this day is also known as Midsummer, which refers to the middle of the growing season in much of Europe and North America.
With the Summer Solstice come activities associated with the warmer weather. Passions generally heat up when the temperature climbs to higher figures. Activities are more extroverted, which is why there are so many barbecues, parties and outdoor concerts. Kids get their long-awaited break for fun and games. This is also a great time for physical workouts and sporting activities outdoors, just before the summer heat becomes unbearable.
Opportunities to meet new people are more likely with increased social events. Hot new romances can occur as people shed their many layers of winter clothing. Cabin fever may be high as the reclusive period of the cold season officially closes. In song, summer can refer to the height of a person’s physical prowess and power.
In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the Winter Solstice and is when the Sun rises and sets at the greatest southern distance from the equator. This day marks the official beginning of the winter season with the longest night of the year and the shortest day. In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite is true: This time marks the longest day of the year and shortest night.
Winter is the time when creatures in cold climates prepare to hibernate and settle in for the season. The long nights lend to rest, introspection, meditation, home cooking, recovery, sleep and study. This may be why holidays near this solstice tend toward family activities and rituals. In song, winter refers to the mature years of adulthood, the time of retirement.