Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Solstice Fast Facts

By CNN Library
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 1834 GMT (0234 HKT)
In many parts of the world there is no better time to work on your mojo than on the longest day of the year. In Belarus girls and boys take the opportunity to celebrate the midnight sun on Ivan Kupala Day by bathing in lakes. In many parts of the world there is no better time to work on your mojo than on the longest day of the year. In Belarus girls and boys take the opportunity to celebrate the midnight sun on Ivan Kupala Day by bathing in lakes.
HIDE CAPTION
The summer of love
Sexy Swedes
Romantic flames of Greece
Cupid in Ukraine
Offerings of love
Pagan passion at Stonehenge
Love on the rocks
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The solstice happens twice each year when the sun is at either its northernmost or southernmost position
  • Summer solstice will occur on June 21, 2015 at 4:31 pm UT in the Northern Hemisphere
  • Winter solstice will take place on December 22, 2015 at 4:48 am UT in the Northern Hemisphere

(CNN) -- Here is a look at what you need to know about the solstice. The summer solstice will take place on June 21, 2015.

Summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurs on June 20, 21, or 22, when the sun reaches its most northerly point, directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer (23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude). The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and marks the beginning of summer.

Winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurs on December 21 or 22, when the sun appears at its most southerly position,directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn (23 degrees 27 minutes south latitude). The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and marks the beginning of winter. It is the exact opposite in the Southern Hemisphere.

A solstice is different from an equinox, the two times each year when the sun is directly above the Earth's equator and day and night are of equal length. Equinoxes mark the beginning of spring (March) and fall (September).

Solstice loosely translated in Latin is "sun stands still". For several days before and after each solstice the sun appears to stand still in the sky, i.e., its noontime elevation does not seem to change from day to day.

Historically, the solstice has been celebrated by numerous cultures around the world. Thousands of people annually celebrate the summer solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

At sunrise at Stonehenge on the longest day of the year, the rising sun appears behind one of the main stones, creating the illusion that the sun is balancing on the stone.

The site was closed for 16 years after rioting broke out between police and revelers for several years at solstice gatherings. Stonehenge was re-opened to the public on Solstice in 2000.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
No matter the time of year, or place, a bounty of vegetables is often all it takes to get people singing, dancing, cow racing -- even parading around giant phalluses.
November 1, 2013 -- Updated 1806 GMT (0206 HKT)
Fireworks boom, bulbs flash, and flames flicker as tens of millions of people across the globe celebrate the beginning of the Festival of Lights.
October 31, 2013 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
halloween costume no eyes
Still think Halloween is just for the kids? You won't -- not when you've seen CNN's gut-twisting, down-right disgusting mob of morbid maniacs.
November 1, 2013 -- Updated 0942 GMT (1742 HKT)
Our list of doomed sites include a haunted school, political prisons and an abandoned hospital. No...we wouldn't go in there either!
October 31, 2013 -- Updated 1046 GMT (1846 HKT)
Catch the best Halloween costumes from tinseltown featuring Heidi Klum, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cyrus and all their A-list friends.
October 21, 2013 -- Updated 1718 GMT (0118 HKT)
There are still many places in the world that treat magic as serious business. Check out our guide to the world's witchiest hotspots.
October 14, 2013 -- Updated 1407 GMT (2207 HKT)
The best photos of the eighth and annual gathering of geeks in the city that never sleeps. The sold out event allowed fans to mingle with stars.
October 9, 2013 -- Updated 1344 GMT (2144 HKT)
When animals come together en masse, very often so do humans. Here's our guide to the animal migrations that bring people out in flocks.
September 20, 2013 -- Updated 0626 GMT (1426 HKT)
Surviving the all-day drinking sessions of highly potent wheat beer at the (in)famous Oktoberfest in Munich is marathon, not a sprint.
September 13, 2013 -- Updated 1742 GMT (0142 HKT)
For one weekend in September more than 155 million people in six neighboring countries across Central America pull out all the stops to honor the birth of their nations.
August 28, 2013 -- Updated 1223 GMT (2023 HKT)
Some hobbies take genuine talent, others just don't, but the real skill is turning your weird past-time into an international event.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 1759 GMT (0159 HKT)
For Muslims, Eid al-Fitr is one of the most festive periods in the religion's calendar. We asked you to send us your best Eid photos, here are your best shots.
August 8, 2013 -- Updated 1046 GMT (1846 HKT)
Award-winning British chef Aktar Islam shares his best Eid food memories. Find out what culinary delights are on his table.
August 20, 2013 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
Humans have a strange relationship with food. This seems to be a global truth that is perhaps best evidenced by the array of unusual food festivals the world over.
July 2, 2013 -- Updated 1042 GMT (1842 HKT)
Each year, proponents of the healing powers of mud (and those that just like to getting down in the dirt) descend on Daecheon Beach in South Korea for the annual Boryeong Mud Festival. Last year, 2.6 million people participated, many diving in to the mud marathon, mud wrestling, and several other mud-related activities on offer.
There is something innately messy about summer. That must be why some of the world's filthiest festivals bide their time until the warmer months.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 0914 GMT (1714 HKT)
From Bastille Day and 4th July to Chinese New Year and Disney Land, your shots of the world's greatest fireworks.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
We asked you to send us your best solstice photos. From skinny dipping, fire jumping and dancing like a rocket -- here are your best shots.
June 17, 2013 -- Updated 0953 GMT (1753 HKT)
Linked to fertility -- both of the vegetal and human variety -- the solstice has spawned celebrations meant to fan the flames of love and lust.
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
Why did the midsummer maypole cause offense and who celebrates midsummer by running naked through the streets?
December 20, 2012 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
For some it was an exhilarating holiday to an exotic place, finding new love or conquering their greatest fear. For others, it was witnessing an historic event.
December 17, 2012 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
The champagne is on ice, the fireworks are exploding overhead -- but isn't your New Year's Eve party a bit, well, last year?
December 14, 2012 -- Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT)
Edinburgh is cast aglow at its annual New Year's Eve (Hogmanay) festivities with a torchlight procession involving more than 25,000 locals
For many people, New Year's Eve can be disappointing -- there's so much hype in the lead-up to the event, it often falls short of the mark.
December 12, 2012 -- Updated 0145 GMT (0945 HKT)
If your Christmas is too often one of tacky decorations, over-cooked turkey and bitter family feuds, now may be the time to plan yourself a Yuletide getaway.
December 24, 2012 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
Jen Best from Liberty, Misouri, snapped this adorable picture of her six month old nephew, Grayson, playing with fairy lights after seeing the idea on Pintrest.
Christmas is synonymous with decorations, markets and extravagant quantities of food. But traditions differ greatly depending on where you are in the world.
December 23, 2012 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
For something intended to bring pleasure to loved ones, Christmas shopping in the Internet age can be a peculiarly joyless and atomized activity.
December 7, 2012 -- Updated 2031 GMT (0431 HKT)
For some, Hanukkah is "the potato pancake holiday" -- a holiday that takes the mundane potato and gives it a massive makeover.
How much do you know about Christmas traditions around the world? Find out with our quiz.
November 26, 2013 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)
The biennale will attract artists such as Sudarshan Shetty, whose previous works have included this aluminium and wood sculpture known as
The port-city of Kochi, on India's west coast, isn't known for its arts scene but that will change as it's first arts bienale.
ADVERTISEMENT