When is the first day of summer 2014? Get information on the 2014 summer solstice facts—plus, fun ways to enjoy summer!
When is the Summer Solstice?
The solstice heralds the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. In 2014, the solstice falls on June 21 at 6:51 A.M. EDT.
The timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator.
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice).
In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer.
This summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year.
Click for YOUR local Sun rise and set times—and how the day length changes!
10 Ways to Celebrate Summer
How will you celebrate the solstice and all that extra daylight? Here are 10 ideas from the editors—plus, some "summer essentials" from our Almanac.com General Store!
- Light a bonfire: The solstice day was traditionally celebrated by dancing around the bonfires. Check out our dramatic fire bowls and fire pits.
- Go fishin': We love to get out on the water. Consult our free Best Days for Fishing chart—plus, tackle-box and bait tips.
- Plant a seed or a tree: Traditionally, to the farmer, the solstice is the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvesting, and an occasion for celebration. Browse our neat seeds kits and containers.
- Cook outside: There's nothing as tasty as grilled food. Have a big cook-out on the solstice. Get a taste of our mouthwatering Grilling and BBQ sauces.
- Camp: Plan a camp-out to enjoy the great outdoors whether it's a tent in the backyard or a cabin in the woods! Check out the camping store page for some fun ideas. Don't forget the best natural insect repellent on Earth to enjoy the outdoors in peace.
- Listen to songbirds: We love our feathered friends. Attact birds to your garden with our beautiful bird feeders.
- Get pampered. Midsummer Day, near the solstice, was said to make old people look younger. It was also thought that walking barefoot in the dew would keep one's skin from getting chapped. Summer certainly does cure the winter dries. You can also check out popular gardener's lotions and fisherman's soaps to soften calloused working hands. There's even an "annulment of time" rejuvenating cream!
Let the light in! With all this extra daylight, hang one of our gorgeous suncatchers or decorative accents for your window or porch. Here is the Almanac suncatcher, shot in our town of Dublin, NH, against the backdrop of Dublin Lake.
- Read a book. Temperatures rise and lazy days ensue. Relax on the beach or the porch and read up on gardening tips, natural health, and more. See our great books and guides.
- Watch the night sky! In ancient Egypt, the new year was celebrated when the star Sirius rose around the time of sunrise. This roughly coincided with the summer solstice and the annual flooding of the Nile River. Click for our free monthly Sky Map and explore the night sky fom your own backyard!
Take a moment to dream! Click to see stunning pictures celebrating summer!
Did You Know?
Question: Why isn’t the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, also the hottest day of the year?
Answer: Earth’s atmosphere, land, and oceans absorb part of the incoming energy from the Sun and store it, releasing it back as heat at various rates. Water is slower to heat (or cool) than air or land. 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. However, the land and oceans are still relatively cool, due to spring’s temperatures, so the maximum heating effect on air temperature is not felt just yet. Eventually, the land and, especially, oceans will release stored heat from the summer solstice back into the atmosphere. This usually results in the year’s hottest temperatures appearing in late July, August, or later, depending on latitude and other factors. This effect is called seasonal temperature lag.
Summer Folklore and Verse
Deep snow in winter, tall grain in summer.–Estonian proverb
When the summer birds take their flight, goes the summer with them.
If it rains on Midsummer's Eve, the filbert crops will be spoiled.–Unknown
One swallow never made a summer.
Easterly winds from May 19 to the 21 indicate a dry summer.
If there are many falling stars during a clear summer evening, expect thunder. If there are none, expect fine weather.