The 2019 summer season is officially underway for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere with the June solstice having occurred Friday, June 21st, at 11:54 A.M.
During the summer solstice, Earth arrives at the point in its orbit where our northernmost pole leans at maximum tilt toward the Sun. The Summer Solstice marks the longest day and shortest night of yearly trip around the Sun.
Cultures around the world have long celebrated the yearly solstices in countless ways.
In Ancient Egypt, the summer solstice coincided with the rising of the Nile River. This was crucial in predicting the periodic flooding.
The Egyptian New Year also began at this important solstice.
The Irish would cut hazel branches during the Solstice eve to be used in searching for gold, water, and precious jewels.
Many European cultures hold Midsummer celebrations during the Solstice. These celebrations can include gatherings at Stonehenge and the lighting of bonfires upon hilltops.
The Summer Solstice tradition of jumping over a lit bonfire is said to secure a year of good fortune. In addition, keeping the left-over ashes can protect from misfortune. Some even add these ashes to gardens for a bountiful harvest.