The Summer Solstice arrives this year at 6:07 am EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) on Thursday June 21st! It’s the beginning of summer….finally. After a long, cold, snowy, rainy winter and spring, I know we are all hoping for a nice stretch of beautiful weather.
Each year, the date and time of the Summer Solstice varies between June 20 and June 22, depending on when the Sun reaches it northernmost point from the equator. Summer Solstice is the day we enjoy the greatest number of daylight hours of the whole year – the longest day. It’s also the day with the highest sun intensity so you’d think it would also be the hottest day of the year, but of course we know that’s not the case. It takes the land and the oceans a bit longer to warm up. That usually happens toward the end of July or the beginning of August in our Northern Hemisphere.
Much interesting folklore surrounds the Summer Solstice. Since ancient times, people have celebrated the magnificence of the Solstice in a variety of ways. The Summer Solstice is associated with a renewal of mind, body, and spirit. In fact, the ancient Greeks counted the Summer Solstice as the first official day of their new year. The Mayans and Aztecs honored the day by building new structures employing the specific alignment and shadows produced by the Sun on that date. The ancient Chinese celebrated by paying tribute to the Earth, femininity, and the yin energy of yin/yang philosophy. Today practitioners of yoga (which is defined as a blending of mind, body, and spirit) congregate in New York City and spread out their yoga mats in Times Square to practice together en masse! One of the grandest celebrations of the Summer Solstice happens every year at the ancient archaeological site of Stonehenge in Great Britain, where druids, mystics, and thousands of Sun worshippers witness the golden sunrise as it perfectly aligns between these mysterious ruins.
For most of us, the Summer Solstice simply marks the beginning of that wonderful time of year when we can slow down a bit and soak up the warmth of the Sun once again. Long Island is a wonderful place to spend a summer day. There is no shortage of beaches, parks, trails, and adventures to enjoy!
Please put the Library on your list of places to visit this summer. Check out our summer programs, borrow a free museum pass, or investigate the many local attractions you can explore this summer. We also have discounted tickets to several places of interest: the Riverhead Aquarium; the Long Island Game Farm; and the Museum of Natural History. Newsday produces the jam-packed Fun Book each spring with a wide variety of ideas for summer fun, including listings of places to boat, swim, fish, surf, hike, play sports, and see shows, as well as listings of museums, shopping areas, restaurants, B&Bs, wineries, and special events. Ask to see the newest edition at the Reference Desk! While you’re in the Library stock up on some good beach reads to tuck into your beach bag as well as some audio books or music CDs for your next road trip, and DVDs for a rainy (or too hot!) day. Spend some time perusing a newspaper, magazine, or book in one of our rocking chairs under an umbrella on our new outdoor Library Terrace. Join one of our Summer Reading Clubs - there’s one for children, teens, and adults too! Learn how to download free library ebooks, audio books, and magazines onto your electronic device. Speaking of electronic devices, did I mention there’s wifi on the Terrace?! We even have iPods and laptops that you can check out to use while you’re here.
For more suggestions of fabulous, nearby summer fun check out these websites:
Have fun and stay safe this summer!