The longest and shortest day of the year – dates, meanings
It is simply impossible to know everything in the world, but the inquisitive human mind always seeks to obtain new knowledge and information about the world around us. And in this case we are not talking about the exact sciences, logarithms, functions or cell division. Man has always been interested in what goes on around him – simple things, but about which one can always learn a little more.
Not everyone can confidently answer the questions, “What is the shortest day of the year? What is the longest day of the year?”. Well, sometimes you can still get an answer, but an incomplete one. This article will talk about exactly that. The reader will be able to find out when all the same year there are the shortest and longest days, as well as what significance they had in different cultures.
When do these days occur?
To begin with, it is worth outlining the dates when we can observe the shortest and longest days. The period when the longest day occurs is called the summer solstice . Usually in the northern hemisphere, this day falls on June 21. This date may shift by a day in leap years. Sometimes the solstice can happen on June 20.
The shortest day of the year, as one might guess, occurs in winter, on December 21 or 22. This phenomenon is called the winter solstice. At noon of the shortest day, the height of the sun above the horizon reaches its lowest point. It should also be noted that the winter solstice occurs only in the northern hemisphere. The length of such day is the shortest in the year and can reach in some latitudes only a couple of hours, after which the length of the day gradually increases.
Summer and winter solstice are not just dates, they have a certain significance for scientists. It is after the summer solstice that astronomical spring ends and summer begins accordingly. Also, astronomers believe that the astronomical winter does not begin on December 1 according to the calendar, but precisely after the winter solstice.
The meaning of these days in pagan cultures
The day that was atypical in comparison to other calendar days has been observed since the ancient times and immediately became a symbol that heralded certain phenomena. Basically, in those ancient times almost all events that could not be explained by people from a scientific point of view were transformed into various omens and portents.
Especially strange and inexplicable phenomena seemed to people astronomical events. Celestial bodies, the appearance of comets, rainbows and even rains sometimes caused awe and fear in people. Not surprisingly, all the inexplicable gave rise in the minds of the people of that time to a special meaning associated with the manifestation of divine forces, and immediately gave rise to various myths and prejudices.
The days of the equinox, as well as the longest and shortest days, could not escape the inquisitive human mind. Noticing this strangeness in the passage of time, our ancestors immediately gave these events a special meaning. In the calendar year such dates occur only four times, which immediately gave rise in human consciousness certain conclusions, which entailed assigning these dates a sacred meaning.
- It should be noted that when looking at the various cultural features of different peoples and tribes, certain similarities associated with these dates can be highlighted. Indeed, many myths and interpretations may turn out to be similar even in those cultural communities which are not considered to be related. There is nothing unusual about this, simply that the human mind immediately identified phenomena and events with certain associations, which, in principle, are logical and can be explained.
For example, the day of the vernal equinox fell on the time when nature awakened from its winter captivity, as if coming to life after death or severe illness. Our ancestors called this date a moment of resurrection, rebirth. People feasted and celebrated the fact that the cold and harsh time of year finally gave way to the sun and warmth.
It is possible, by the way, to note some echoes of those pagan customs in modern times as well. Easter is a spring holiday, the symbol of which is the egg. And it is precisely the egg in ancient pagan cultures means rebirth in the cosmogonic sense.
As you might have guessed, the event of the vernal equinox was opposed to the day of the autumnal equinox. At the same time, it included two meanings, which were opposite to each other. As everyone knows, the harvest was gathered in the fall, and it was not just a good and auspicious, but very significant, something grand, especially if you consider the fact that in ancient times, the livelihood of people very much depended on the harvested crops.
The positive meaning of the onset of autumn was combined with the beginning of the period of fading of nature, so the day at the same time was associated with death. Halloween is just an echo of the holiday of our ancestors associated with the spirits of the dead, with pumpkins symbolizing the harvest, and masks and frightening robes symbolizing the dead.
The longest and shortest days were also not neglected in ancient times. These days began the countdown of a new time in the year, so most often people associated them with hopes for the future. On these days sacrifices were made, prayers to the gods were offered and people hoped for the best – for prosperity, a good harvest, positive changes.
Dualism of winter and summer solstice
As indicated just above, the days of the winter and summer solstice also had special significance for our ancestors. Considering that at that time people did not have the ability to track all astronomical phenomena, it should still be noted that they were able to identify during time the shortest and longest days, as well as to give them certain meanings.
The summer solstice was considered a festival of flowering, joy, the riot of life, as well as a festival of fertility. For people this date has become a fun and joyful holiday. At the same time, the attitude of our ancestors to the winter solstice was somewhat contradictory. This was due to the fact that this event had a dark side – it is on the shortest day of the year with the maximum force according to the beliefs of people spirits rampaged. But at the same time, these terrible circumstances were replaced by hope for the best and brightest – it was believed that light deities came into force after this day.
- The traditions of many nations are very similar to each other. The traditional customs of the Britons, Gauls, and ancient Greeks are largely repeated among themselves. Because of this extensive influence on the general culture of the Old World, some pagan customs served as the foundation for the existence of subsequent Christian festivals. Thus, we can say that a mixture of traditions occurred.
Summer and Winter Solstice in Slavic Culture
There might be a quite logical question: why are the Christian holidays all over the world celebrated on the longest and the shortest days of the year? We can hardly write this fact off as a trivial coincidence. Even Christmas, one of the most popular holidays in the world, used to be celebrated according to the old style, that is, two weeks earlier. And the expression “the night before Christmas” always had its own sacred meaning.
In Slavic culture, on the longest day of the year, people celebrated the feast of Ivan Kupala. Everyone may have heard of this pagan holiday – yes, it was on this date that people gathered and jumped over the bonfire, divined, and believed that on this day the unclean force becomes stronger. In the calendar of Christian holidays, the feast of St. John the Baptist falls on this day. In principle, it is a kind of hybrid of Christian and pagan holidays. Ivan Kupala and John the Baptist, who performed the rites of baptism in water, are even somewhat congruent.
The feast of Ivan Kupala on the summer solstice in Slavic culture was a significant date for free boys and girls. The Slavs paid great importance to this celebration – it was believed that the marriage union, which was concluded on this date, would be strong and long-lasting.
The day of the winter solstice, and then the night before Christmas according to the old style, meant a high activity of dark forces and evil spirits, which then lost their powers after the longest night of the year. Subsequently, the pagan component served as the foundation for the Christian holiday as well – on this night Jesus was born, symbolizing the victory over the evil forces and the beginning of a bright time.
What in any case we shouldn’t do on the day of the summer solstice and why we should make a wish on June 21?
We will tell you how to spend the International solstice day, what rituals to follow and how to make wishes that everything will come true. And also we shall reveal the omens associated with June 21.
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In 2022 the day of summer solstice, when we observe the shortest night and longest day of the year, fell on June 21. Only in leap years this day is celebrated on 20 June. Since June 22, the duration of the night will increase, and the day will decrease. Since ancient times, various people attach great importance to the summer solstice day, told to Life the astrologer Olga Arkhangelskaya.
It was believed that the day of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere of the Earth is the greatest concentration of bright and good forces, which certainly will help people if you ask for them. Therefore, thoughts, desires and requests should be pious and positive. In many cultures the holiday was accompanied by different rituals: prayers, games, competitions, races, dances, fortune-telling, attracting a soulmate
How to spend the summer solstice
The summer solstice is the main holiday in all traditions, explained shaman Nikolai Kachurov. The fact is that the solstice is the peak of summer. On June 21 there is the greatest rise of vital forces and vital energy, people get access to the inner power. Since the sun is our life force, during the summer solstice this power is greatest.
Everyone understands the distinction between when inner powers are channeled in a constructive direction and when they are wasted. If they are channeled in the direction we want, we get wealth, prosperity, success in business, and better health. If they are lost in vanity, we get regrets, missed opportunities and other negative programs.
Great Bear Shaman (Nikolai Kachurov).
The sun simply shines and gives life to everything around us, asking nothing in return. Therefore on June 21 you should be sincerely generous and complacent to everything that surrounds you. Energetically the day is considered powerful, and the way you spend it, what you lay down, can have a prolonged effect from three to six months, noted astrologer Arkhangelskaya.
You can give gifts, arrange a holiday for yourself and your loved ones, participate in charity events. Thank everyone and everything around. Relationships that began on this day will probably stay for a long time.
Summer solstice day: what to do
On the day of the summer solstice, the only star in the solar system moves very slowly, which means that one can control the inner power. On June 21, direct your power to achieve success in the spiritual and material spheres of life, recommended shaman Kachurov. “We celebrate this day to tap into this source of power and strength, and to bring gratitude to the Sun for all that we receive from it.”
Prayers, meditations, visualization, making a map or wish list are great. Negativity, on the other hand, can come back with tenfold force, so be careful. Especially sensitive people may see prophetic dreams and get answers to their questions in their dreams.
What not to do on the day of the summer solstice
You should not be aggressive, conflict and quarrelsome. In astrology, the Sun in the natal chart means self (self-identity, unchanging essence, wholeness, love and creativity). Manifestations of selfishness can be overwhelming, it is worth controlling such impulses
Summer solstice day: rituals
On the day of the summer solstice, you need to dress in such a way as to attract the right energy. The ritual with outfits is simple: choose clothes in red, orange, gold, yellow shades. White will also do. It is desirable to wear jewelry made of gold and precious stones – because what you will be wearing, will charge for a long time the positive energy of the sun.
If you want to charge or clean items, jewelry, just lay them out on white paper under the sunlight all day until 4 p.m. When you lay them out, read the words:
Scrub the objects (you list them),
How to make a wish on the summer solstice day
On the day of the summer solstice, it is imperative that you make your deepest, most cherished wish. Beliefs say that the dream is sure to become a reality, you just need to ask the universe correctly. If you can’t wait for your wish to come true as soon as possible, you need to take a trick: not just make a wish by visualizing it, but to perform a special ritual – to climb over the 12 fences. Another effective way to make a wish that just come true, with Life shared by Olga Arkhangelskaya.
You can write your wish on paper, read it aloud and burn it before 16:00, scatter the ashes. Such a ritual is better to perform in a safe place, because the ashes thrown out of the window can fly back, then the wish will not come true
Omen for the summer solstice day
According to popular beliefs, bad weather on the longest day of the year hints at a poor harvest. In ancient times, even if the sun just hid behind clouds, people believed that nothing good would come of the summer. If there is a lot of dew on the grass and bushes in the morning, the harvest will be abundant, writes kp.ru. Our ancestors used to collect this very dew in containers – they believed that it had healing and rejuvenating effects, almost magical powers. That’s why any water procedures in the third decade of June were considered extremely beneficial.
If you do not oversleep and meet the sunrise on June 21, nature will reward you with health and strength and protect you from adversities for the whole coming year. There are, of course, and “wedding” omens. According to one of them, if an unmarried girl dances around nine bonfires all night, she will soon be married. Not a happy one, of course. And if a guy pours water on the lady on the summer solstice, whether accidentally or intentionally, they will marry quickly.