A Brief History of the Summer Solstice


| 6/23/2017 12:20:00 PM


Summer is, officially, here! Although school has been out for some time, June 20th marked the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer as we know it. Also known as Midsummer, the summer solstice has been celebrated and honored by civilizations throughout history.

The ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated with feasts and, in both cultures, the solstice aligned with some of their most prominent festivals—the Olympics in Greece and the festival of Vestalia in Rome. The Native American Sun Dance represents this changing of seasons and other early indigenous tribes often built their important structures during solstices. Some pagan traditions believed that certain plants, such as St. John’s wort, roses and rue, possessed different, beneficial properties if picked on the year’s shortest night.

stonehenge with bright sun
Photo by Adobe Stock/andrewmroland.

So why do we continue to celebrate this ancient holiday?

Like many of our modern traditions, the summer solstice was also married to religious calendars during the rise of Christianity. Throughout Europe, what pagans called the solstice became St. John the Baptist’s Day.



In recent years, studies have been conducted to determine whether humans are happier when the days are longer and have more hours of sunlight. One specific study looked at the tweets of 2.4 million people across the world. The researchers discovered that, based on the content of tweets, people were more positive when the summer solstice was approaching, lengthening the hours of daylight. (Learn more about how vitamin D can improve well-being.)



Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds