The high point of the summer
Compiled by Diane Anderson
Strange as it may sound, there is a connection between the summer solstice and honeymoons.
The longest day
Yesterday was the longest day of the year. This is called the summer solstice. The word 'solstice' is made up from two Latin words. These are 'sol' (meaning 'sun') and 'stiere' (meaning 'to stand still'). During the summer solstice, the sun is in the sky for so long, it appears to stand still.
The people of the Northern Hemisphere have their summer solstice while those in the Southern Hemisphere have their winter solstice. The summer solstice has been celebrated as the first day of summer for hundreds of years.
The people of early Europe were known as the Celts and Slavs. They celebrated the first day of summer with dancing and bonfires. They thought this helped make more energy for the sun. On this day, the Chinese worshipped the Chinese Goddess of Light, Li.
The summer solstice is celebrated by thousands of people at Stonehenge in England. The ancient priests of England, known as the Druids, built Stonehenge. It is made of many tall stone slabs standing in a circle. People go there to see the sunrise during the summer solstice.
The Druids celebrated the day as the 'wedding of Heaven and Earth'. Today a June wedding is thought to be a 'lucky' wedding. The first full moon in June is called the Honey Moon. This is because it was thought to be the best time to harvest honey from the bee hives. The honey was fed to people who had just got married. The first holiday after the wedding then became known as the honeymoon.
The summer solstice ceremony celebrated the Earth, females and the yin forces. The winter solstice ceremony celebrated the heavens, males and yang forces.
Now do this:
1 Match the countries to the type of solstice (summer or winter solstice) they have on June 21
a. Hong Kong
d. New Zealand
2 What is the name of the famous site in England that has tall stones that stand in a circle?
3 Which month of the year is thought to be the luckiest for weddings?