6 curiosities to know about the solstices
During the 2018 World Cup, several journalists and reporters covering the games in Russia commented on the effects of the longest day of the year on player routine. Here, however, the feeling was exactly the opposite: Brazilians who continued in their country experienced on June 21 the shortest day of the year and the longest night.
This is because, here in the Southern Hemisphere, this date - with the possibility of varying one or two days - is the winter solstice, when the Sun reaches the farthest distance from Earth and marks the beginning of the coldest phase of the year. Already in Russia, in the Northern Hemisphere, the same date means the summer solstice, the beginning of the heat season.
Get to know some curious facts about these two events!
1. By appointment!
The solstice itself, that exact moment when the sun reaches a perfect distance and passes the same point in the sky, occurs at a specific minute. This year, the winter one was at 7:07 am on June 21st. The summer in the North was at 6:07 am on the same date.
2. Stand up!
These days the sun seems higher and more central. And that's where the name of the solstice comes from! In Latin, sun is the same sun we know and sistere is "standing", so solstice is "standing sun".
3. Cultural Celebrations
For many people, the arrival of winter is not exactly something to celebrate. After all, cold! But for many ancient cultures, this day brought something of mystic and special, representing renewal - the death of an old sun and the birth of a new one.
This is the case of the Andean peoples in the Andes. In Cusco, Peru, for example, at this time one of the most important festivals in the country happens, the Inti Raymi (festival of the Sun) - which has existed since the time of the Incan people who lived there. In Bolivia, the day becomes a holiday, as it is considered the New Year of the Aymara people.
4. In the North too!
Just as a new cycle is celebrated to the South, in the North cultural celebrations are reserved for the date, both in the summer and winter solstices. The most well-known cultural event during the latter in the Northern Hemisphere is the Stonehenge party in December. The sun is perfectly aligned with the rocks, forming a true spectacle that thousands of people gather to see.
In summer, in turn, now in June, Scandinavian countries celebrate the arrival of the heat. In Norway, for example, the custom is to light bonfires to set the date, with dances and musical performances going on around them. In 2016 inclusive, Norway achieved the highest fire camp world record: it was 47.39 meters.
5. Yin Yang
In China, the two solstices are opposite and represented by the famous yin-yang. Yin was the summer solstice and Yang the winter, which throughout the year would complement each other, bringing balance to the universe.
6. Ball in them!
One of the most curious traditions at this time of year comes from Alaska and is certainly not very ancestral there - it began in 1906. Every year, on midsummer, locals celebrate the moment with a baseball game. The match starts at 22h and goes until the next morning. Natural light, of course, is not a problem.
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