What You Need To Know About The Summer Solstice & Why We Should Celebrate It!

Posted: June 14, 2016 by Kjersti Vick

The solstice is nearly upon us, let us help you to find what you need to know about the summer solstice and why we should celebrate it!


Kids swimming

In 2016 the official date of the summer solstice is June 20th.

Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice is between June 20 and June 22 in the northern hemisphere.

The summer solstice is the longest period of daylight for the year.

The amount of daylight varies based upon location, in the communities of Cook County there will be 16:01 hours of daylight on the summer solstice. That is 35 minutes more daylight than in the Twin Cities?!

solstice pageant north house grand marais mn

What the heck does “solstice” mean?

The word “solstice” derives from two Latin words sol(sun) and sistere(to stand still) because it appears that the sun stops at the solstice. There are two solstices that happen annually when the Earth’s axis is at its most extreme, summer and winter. In June, the earth in the Northern Hemisphere tilts towards the sun making the longest day of the year, while in December it is tilted away from the sun making the shortest day of the year.

It’s the first official day of summer, yet not the warmest - why?

Lake Superior - the greatest of lakes!It’s all about the angle of the sun, while the tilt of the Earth is angled for more direct exposure to the sun, the Earth is not closer to the sun. Since the majority of the Earth’s surface is water, it can take up to six weeks for the extreme angle of the sun to penetrate water allowing the temperature to rise. Fortunately due to our proximity to the greatest lake of them all (Lake Superior), even at the peak of summer heat, we stay comfortably cool at about 65-75F for most of the summer.

It is a day to be celebrated!

Wooden Boat Show and Summer SolsticeThroughout the world a variety of cultures celebrate the solstice for different reasons in diverse ways but a common theme is the start to summer life. In Grand Marais, we celebrate with the Wooden Boat Show and Summer Solstice Festival at North House Folk School. It is a craft weekend filled with coursework, demonstrations, a boat parade, auction, and most notably – the annual Solstice Pageant. Sivertson Gallery is also hosting a Solstice celebration party.

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