Celebrating the Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year
The Summer Solstice is always a major seasonal milestone in the year as it marks the longest day. In 2021 it occurs on Wednesday 22 December in the Southern Hemisphere at 2.59am (AEDT) and on that day there will be around 14 hours and 24 minutes of daylight.
Some things you may not know
- It’s the day when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky.
- Sunrise and sunset on the day are not the earliest or latest times as you would expect. The earliest sunrise is before the solstice and the latest sunset occurs after the solstice.
- The date and time of the solstice is different every year.
- The word ‘solstice’ means ‘sun stands still’ as the sun reaches the highest or lowest point in the sky depending on the time of year.
- In the norther hemisphere the winter solstice will be occurring, marking the start of winter.
The Solstice and the Celts
The early Celtic people, including the Druids, lived in Ancient Britain, Ireland and France (Gaul) around 1,000 BC and have long been associated with rituals relating to the Summer and Winter Solstices. The meaning of Druid is thought to relate to the Celtic word meaning ‘knowledge or wisdom of the oak’.
Both the Summer and Winter Solstices are believed to have been significant events that the Druids celebrated due to their affinity with, and reverence for, nature. Think Stonehenge or Glastonbury in England which are considered sacred sites by the Druids. Modern day Druids may celebrate in formal rituals or informal gatherings to mark the occasion as a time to take stock and connect with nature and each other.
How to celebrate the Solstice
For some people the Summer Solstice is the observation of a naturally occurring astronomical event. For the Celts and the Druids, it’s a time of magic and mystery, whilst for others, it will be just another day in the calendar.
No matter what camp you are in here are a few ideas to celebrate regardless.
- Go for a picnic with family or friends
- Take a walk for some fresh air and re-connect with nature
- Spend some time meditating to de-stress and unwind
- Listen to your favourite music
- Go for a swim – it’s summer!
- Watch the sunrise and reflect on a new day
- Create a list of summer resolutions
NobleOak and the Summer Solstice
The United Ancient Order of Druids Friendly Society of NSW became a mutual in 1877 and was one of the earliest insurance providers and friendly societies in Australia before demutualising in 2011 to become NobleOak Life Limited.
With NobleOak’s early links to the Druids going back 144 years, the Summer Solstice is a timely reminder of their guiding principles which still underpin our name and values. Our company logo is also based on what the Druids held most sacred – the oak tree, a symbol that was honored for its strength, endurance and noble presence.
Today our focus continues to remain on looking after our customers first and foremost, holding true to the ethos of the Ancient Order of Druids which is closely aligned to the desire to help protect Australians and their families.