Summer 2014 officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere on Saturday, June 21st, 2014 at 3:51 am Pacific Standard time. This Saturday the sun will be at its most northern point in the sky so this day is technically referred to as our summer solstice.
The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to have “stopped”. The (June) solstice day (December being Winter Solstice) has the longest hours of daylight for those of us living north of the equator. In the Arctic Circle the “midnight sun” will be visible throughout the night. On this same day half the globe will experience their longest day of the year
Did You Know this about the Summer Solstice?
- The axis of the Earth (imaginary line running through Earth from top to bottom) is tilted in relation to the Sun. At the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives the most energy (highest intensity) from the Sun due to the angle of sunlight and day length.
- For those living near the equator, the sun does not shift up and down in the sky as much compared with other geographical locations away from the equator during this time of the year. This means that the length of day temperature does not vary as much.
- On June 21st the sun will not rise precisely in the east. It will rise to the north of east and set to the north of west allowing it to be in the sky for a longer period of time. In the southern hemisphere, the June solstice is known as the shortest day of the year. It is when the sun has reached its furthest point from the equator and marks the first day of winter.
- In ancient times, solstices and equinoxes were important in guiding people to develop and maintain calendars, as well as helping them to grow crops. Over the centuries, the June solstice was a time when festivals, celebrations and other festivities were celebrated.
- Throughout the summer each day will actually get shorter, losing about two minutes of sunlight every 24 hours.
- On the summer solstice, in the Northern Hemisphere, sunlight hitting the Tropic of Cancer is perpendicular to the earth’s surface
- Around June 21, the north end of Earth’s axis is pointing toward the Sun. The south end is pointing away from the Sun. This day is called the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Forecasters predict hotter and drier summer for Vancouver and B.C. For this reason we can anticipate an increased threat of large wildfires. Unfortunately the forecast at the other end of the country is cooler, wetter weather.
What events coincide with the beginning of summer in Vancouver this year?
Greek Day on Broadway – June 22
The Vancouver Greek Summer Festival (Now simply known as Greek Summerfest) is an annual celebration of food, entertainment, and family fun.
Vancouver International Jazz Festival – June 20 – July 1
Vancouver International Jazz Festival is the largest music festival in British Columbia, offering over 300 concerts. It features more than 1800 musicians and 300 concerts at many major and minor venues, including many for free.
Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – June 20 – 22
The Dragon Boat festival was created to showcase Vancouver’s cultural diversity and to promote racial harmony among Canadians. At the heart of the Festival is dragon boating – the fastest-growing team sport in North America and a sport that’s fun to do and fun to watch.
Summer is the time of the year when everything is alive. The smell of blooming flowers or a fresh cut lawn. It is a time when you feel the warmth of the sun on your face and the effortlessness of a gentle breeze. Walking barefooted, digging your toes into the sand and watching the clouds sail by. Eating on an outdoor terrace. Sitting outside in the evening. Listening to the ice cream truck round up all the kids in the neighborhood. Counting the stars as they come up. Isn’t it wonderful to lie in your bed with the windows open as you drop off to sleep?
Everyone has a piece of music that makes them think ‘SUMMER!’ Maybe for Vancouverites it is our local Bryan Adam’s hit Summer of ’69. For some maybe Don Henley’s Boys of Summer or for something soft and dreamy like It’s a Beautiful Day’s Hot Summer Day. And the all time classic summer song – The Beatles Here Comes the Sun!
Hooray for Summer – Here comes the Sun!
” A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”
~James Dent, American author and sportswriter