Summer Solstice 2022: The Sensual Tradition of the Longest Day of the Year

(CNN) — Did you feel a commotion in your heart? Maybe your libido jumps? Oops, are you just getting hot and bothered?

The summer solstice of 2022 is approaching. The longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere kicks off the start of summer on the official calendar, followed by maximum sunshine, plenty of heat, romance and a bumper harvest.

The winter solstice has historically been associated with Fertility – plant and human diversity – in destinations around the world.

CNN Travel explores some of these sensual, time-honored summer traditions. But first, we’ll look at some science.

Summer Solstice: Q&A

Istanbul’s famous Hagia Sophia and surrounding gardens will enjoy 15 hours and 7 minutes of daylight on the winter solstice.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

question: OK, but I like precision. Exactly When is the summer solstice 2022?

Reply: The answer depends on where you are during the winter solstice.

It will happen exactly at 09:13 UTC on Tuesday, June 21, according to NASA. Your time zone relative to UTC determines the time and date your solstices occur.

Here’s how 09:13 UTC aligns with local time at selected locations around the globe (and observes the time course as we scan from east to west):

• Guam: Tuesday at 7:13 pm
• Tokyo, Japan: Tuesday at 6:13 pm
• Manila, Philippines: Tuesday at 5:13 pm
• Dhaka, Bangladesh: Tuesday at 3:13 pm
• Dubai, UAE: Tuesday 1:13 pm
• Istanbul, Turkey: Tuesday 12:13 pm
• Brussels, Belgium: Tuesday 11:13am
• Casablanca, Morocco: Tuesday 10:13am
• Recife, Brazil: Tuesday at 6:13am
• Boston, MA: Tuesday at 5:13 am
• Guadalajara, Mexico: Tuesday at 4:23am
• Calgary, Canada: Tuesday at 3:13am
• Seattle, WA: Tuesday at 2:13 am
• Honolulu, Hawaii: Monday 11:13 pm

People celebrate the summer solstice in Glastonbury, southwest England, on June 21, 2021.

People celebrate the summer solstice in Glastonbury, southwest England, on June 21, 2021.

Peter Zibora/Reuters

question: It’s the longest day of the year – does it happen anywhere in the world?

Reply: No. This is the longest day only in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the shortest day of the year south of the equator. Residents of the southern hemisphere – in places like Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand – are about to experience three months of winter.

The difference in the amount of sunlight you get becomes very significant as you get closer to the poles and further away from the equator.

In Quito, Ecuador’s capital, just north of the equator, the difference is barely noticeable. They get a paltry seven extra minutes of daylight.

But residents of northern Helsinki, Finland will get a 3:54 a.m. sunrise and nearly 19 hours of daylight. Even at night it doesn’t get that dark.

Residents of inland Fairbanks in central Alaska might turn their noses up at those 19 hours. They will get up to 21 hours and 41 minutes of daylight.

As for those poor penguins guarding their eggs in Antarctica – if they could talk, they could tell you a lot about living in 24-hour darkness.

This NASA photo shows the 2018 summer solstice. Note the angle of the terminator (the line between day and night). This tilt makes the northern hemisphere more susceptible to direct sunlight than the southern hemisphere.

This NASA photo shows the 2018 summer solstice. Note the angle of the terminator (the line between day and night). This tilt makes the northern hemisphere more susceptible to direct sunlight than the southern hemisphere.

NOAA

question: Why don’t we only have 12 hours of sunlight a year?

Reply: During the equinox, people on Earth actually do get almost equal doses of day and night. But since then, the amount of sunlight we get in the northern hemisphere has increased every day. Why?

“As the earth orbits the sun [once each year], its tilt axis always points in the same direction. So, throughout the year, different parts of the Earth are exposed to direct sunlight from the sun,” NASA said.

When the sun reaches the apex of the northern hemisphere, it is the summer solstice.

According to the National Weather Service, at that time, “the sun was directly on the Tropic of Cancer, which is located at 23.5° north latitude and runs through Mexico, the Bahamas, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India and southern China.”

Sensual Tradition: Midsummer in Sweden

In Sweden, the summer solstice is celebrated during midsummer. The festival is marked by romantic rituals.

In Sweden, the summer solstice is celebrated during midsummer. The festival is marked by romantic rituals.

Carolina Romar/imagebank.sweden.se

Now let’s turn our attention to what is real On our minds: the romantic and sexy side of the winter solstice. We will start with Sweden.

Their traditions include dancing around the maypole – considered by some to be a phallic symbol. They also enjoyed herring and vodka (romance may be a matter of personal preference).

“In Sweden, many children are born nine months after Midsummer,” Jan-Öjvind Swahn, a Swedish ethnologist and author of several books on the subject, told CNN before his death in 2016.

“Drinking is the quintessential midsummer tradition. There are historical pictures of people drinking to the point where they couldn’t go on,” Swain said.

While libations helped with subsequent baby booms, Swahn noted that even without booze, midsummer was a time of romantic rituals.

“Once upon a time, unmarried girls had a tradition of eating something very salty in midsummer, or collecting several different flowers and putting them under their pillows while sleeping, dreaming of their future husbands,” he said.

pagan rituals in greece

In Greece, the summer solstice is celebrated on St. John's Day. In parts of the north, locals celebrate with a custom called Klidonas. Part of the ritual of the day includes building a bonfire.

In Greece, the summer solstice is celebrated on St. John’s Day. In parts of the north, locals celebrate with a custom called Klidonas. Part of the ritual of the day includes building a bonfire.

media company

In parts of Greece, there are similar myths about dreaming about one’s future spouse. There, as in many European countries, the pagan solstice was absorbed by Christianity and renamed St. John’s Day. Still, in many villages in the north of the country, ancient rituals are still celebrated.

One of the oldest rituals is called Klidonas, and it involves local virgins collecting water from the sea.

Unmarried women in the village put their personal belongings in jars for the night under a fig tree, where – folklore – daytime magic imbues them with prophetic power, and the girls dream of their future husbands.

The next day, the women of the whole village gathered together, took turns to take out the objects, and recited the rhyming couplet, which foreshadowed the love affair of the owner. These days, however, the festival is more of an excuse for the women’s community to exchange obscene jokes.

“In my village, the older women always seem to come up with the dirtiest rhymes,” said Eleni Fanariotou, who filmed the custom. Later in the day, the sexes mix and take turns jumping over the campfire.

Anyone who successfully jumps over the flame three degrees means that a wish has been granted. Fanariotu said the festival tends to lead to coupling.

“It’s a good time to meet someone because all the young people in the village go and it’s a good opportunity to socialize. Also, all the men love to show off and they’ll make the biggest fire they can to jump on.”

slavic cupid

Kupala night celebrations are very popular in Poland.

Kupala night celebrations are very popular in Poland.

Artur Vidak/NurPhoto/AP

In Eastern Europe, the summer solstice is associated with the festival of Ivan Kupala – a holiday with romantic connotations for many Slavs (“Kupala” is the same word as “Cupid”). It’s also known as Kupala Night (obviously, love doesn’t have a strict schedule).

Agnieszka Bigaj of the Polish Tourism Board recalls: “People used to think that Kupala night was a time when people fell in love and those who celebrated it would be happy all year round.”

In the past, young unmarried women would float garlands in the river, and eager bachelors on the other side would try to catch the flowers. she says.

According to Polish folklore, the man and woman in question would become a pair. Bonfires are also a big feature of the festival, traditionally a couple jumping over a fire holding hands – if they don’t let go, their love is said to last.

Yoga in India and Beyond

Yogis at the 2021 Winter Solstice in Times Square.

Yogis at the 2021 Winter Solstice in Times Square.

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Few things keep you in touch with your mind and body quite like yoga.

The summer solstice is traditionally celebrated with massive yoga classes across the country in India, the birthplace of the ancient custom, the second most populous country in the world.

Today, yoga has taken the world by storm.

In fact, International Yoga Day is June 21st, the summer solstice. The UN’s 2022 theme is “Yoga for Humanity” and touted the practice as a good way to overcome the impact of the pandemic.
At Times Square in NYC, they will take advantage of all the daylight, starting at 7:30am and ending at 8:30pm. Register early for solstice yoga classes, or if you can’t attend, join the Times Square Alliance’s website by streaming The league is presenting the campaign.

Chinese tradition

Records from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) indicated that officials were given three days off during the summer solstice, according to China Culture.com.

Known as the “Fry Festival”, “Women give each other colorful fans and sachets. The fans can make them feel less hot, and the sachets are used to repel mosquitoes and make them smell good.”

People in Mohe, China’s northernmost city in Heilongjiang province, can enjoy nearly 17 hours of sunlight, with sunrise at 3:23 am

Stonehenge

beautiful england

For centuries, the mysterious Stonehenge has fascinated people.

Courtesy English Heritage

Traditionally, one of the most famous solstice celebrations in the world is held at Stonehenge in England, where thousands of people usually gather each year. Like many other events in 2020-21, they had to close it due to the pandemic.

Dating back to druid and pagan times, Stonehenge has a mystical charm.

“All druid ceremonies have an element of fertility, and the winter solstice is no exception,” High Arch Druid King Arthur Pendragon told CNN. “We celebrate the union of the male and female gods – the sun and the earth – on the longest day of the year.”

Above: Swimmers walk back from the sea after swimming in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, England, after the summer solstice on June 21, 2021. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Portions of this article are taken from Daisy Carrington’s CNN story first published in 2013.

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