Summer Solstice 2018: First Day of Summer

When is the First Day of Summer 2018?

Sunflower with Bees
Pixabay

The timing of the June solstice—or, summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere—varies between June 20 and June 22, depending on the year and time zone. See the time and date of the Summer Solstice 2018, as well as solstice facts and FAQs.

When is the Summer Solstice?

This year, the June solstice falls on Thursday, June 21, in all U.S. and Canada time zones, specifically at 6:07 A.M. EDT.

Year Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)
2018 Thursday, June 21
2019 Friday, June 21
2020 Saturday, June 20

What is the Summer Solstice?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the June solstice occurs when the Sun reaches both its highest and northernmost points in the sky. (In contrast, the June solstice in the Southern Hemisphere is when the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky.)

The word “solstice” comes from Latin solstitium—from sol (Sun) and stitium (standing), reflecting the fact that on the solstice, the Sun appears to stop moving in the sky as it reaches its northern- or southernmost point. After the solstice, the Sun appears to reverse course and head back in the opposite direction.

The timing of the June solstice is not based on a specific calendar date or time; it all depends on when the Sun reaches its northernmost point from the equator. Therefore, the June solstice won’t always occur on the same day. 

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. Because the sun is highest in the sky on this day, you’ll notice that your shadow (at noon) is the shortest it will be all year.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight of the whole year. See our handy sunrise and sunset calculator to figure out how many hours of sunlight you get in your location on the solstice.

At the winter solstice, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is lowest in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.

See 7 fun facts about the June solstice!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the Summer Solstice the First Day of Summer?

A: Yes and no—it depends on whether we’re speaking meteorologically or astronomically. Most meteorologists divide the year into four seasons based on the months and the temperature cycle, which allows them to compare and organize climate data more easily. In this system, summer begins on June 1 and ends on August 31. Therefore, the summer solstice is not considered to be the first day of summer, meteorologically speaking.

Astronomically, however, the first day of summer is said to be when the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky, which occurs on the summer solstice (June 20–22). Therefore, the summer solstice is considered to be the first day of summer, astronomically speaking.

As an almanac, which is defined as a “calendar of the heavens,” we prefer to follow the astronomical interpretation of the seasons and do consider the first day of summer to coincide with the summer solstice. That being said, you may choose whichever system you like best!

SUnflower field

Q: Why Doesn’t the Summer Solstice Fall on the Same Date Each Year?

A: The summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere ranges in date from June 20 to 22. This occurs in part because of the difference between the Gregorian calendar system, which normally has 365 days, and the tropical year (how long it takes Earth to orbit the Sun once), which has about 365.242199 days. To compensate for the missing fraction of days, the Gregorian calendar adds a leap day about every 4 years, which makes the date for summer jump backward. However, the date also changes because of other influences, such as the gravitational pull from the Moon and planets, as well as the slight wobble in Earth’s rotation.

Q: Why isn’t the summer solstice—the longest day of the year—also the hottest day of the year?

A: 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.

Q: What is Midsummer Day (June 24)?

A: Historically, this day was the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvest. Folks celebrated by feasting, dancing, singing, and preparing for the hot summer days ahead. Read more about the ancient Quarter Days!

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Solstice Fun Facts

The solstice does NOT bring the earliest sunrise

Interestingly, even though the summer solstice if the “longest” day of the year (the most daylight), the earliest sunrises happen about a week prior to the solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. The reason for the timing of sunrises is related to the length of day—which is longer than 24 hours in June—and the inclination of the Earth’s rotational axis. Bottom-line, your earliest sunrises start happening before the solstice itself.

See YOUR sunrise times!

The Sun sets more SLOWLY at the solstice

Did you know that the Sun actually sets more slowly around the time of a solstice, in that it takes longer to set below the horizon? This is related to the angle of the setting Sun. The farther the Sun sets from due west along the horizon, the shallower the angle of the setting Sun. (Conversely, it’s faster at or near the equinoxes.) Bottom-line, enjoy those long romantic summertime sunsets at or near the solstice!

See YOUR sunset times!

Seasons on Other Planets

  • Mercury has virtually no tilt (less than ⅓0th of a degree) relative to the plane of its orbit, and therefore does not experience true seasons.
  • Uranus is tilted by almost 98 degrees and has seasons that last 21 years. 

See sunrise/set times for all the planets!

Solstice Traditions

Every year on the summer solstice, thousands of people travel to Wiltshire, England to Stonehenge—a mysterious prehistoric monument. See more about this ancient site.

In Sweden, people traditionally celebrate the beginning of summer by eating the first strawberries of the season. Learn more about Midsummer’s Day.

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There are many northern people like the Swedes who celebrate Midsummer’s Eve, too, dancing around the bonfire on the shortest night of the year. After all, these northern people have merged from some long, dark winters! In Tyrol, Austria, torches and bonfires are lit up on mountainsides.

According to ancient Latvian legend, Midsummer Even (St. John’s Eve) on June 23 is spent awake by the glow of a bonfire and in pursuit of a magical fern flower—said to bring good luck—before cleansing one’s face in the morning dew. Read more about fern folklore.

Summer Solstice Folklore

  • 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.

When does fall start? Click here to see the first date of each season.

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Solstice vs Egyptian New Year

Thank you for your article.
Clarification:
The summer solstice and the heliacal rising of Sirius do not occur roughly together. The summer solstice doesn’t begin the Egyptian year, the heliacal rising (appearing in the sky just before sunrise) of Sirius began their year which occurred around the end of summer.
However, they did believe that when Sirius was no longer visible in the night sky (for around 40 days) because it rose with the sun, that it contributed to the heat of the day.

Sirius

Thank you for your feedback. We have removed reference to Sirius on this page. As you say, it is more of a later summer event. We do mention Sirius when discussing Dog Days https://www.almanac.com/content/what-are-dog-days-summer
Thanks again!

FUN!

Thanks for being a fun place to get both my folk lore and astronomical-sciencey fix with seasonal & the day to day events! don't know how you do it but you bring those two themes together like peanut butter and jelly. Both are always exciting but really difficult to represent them together like this. Thanks so much for your talent, you guys are amazing!

Agree!

I second your comment. Love this website! Happy Summer!

Seasons

Being the Farmer's Almanac, I think you should also talk about the fact that there are various interpretations of when seasons begin and end. The "Summer Solstice" does not necessarily mark the "beginning of Summer". In fact, that is when daylight starts to shorten. You are talking about the astronomical seasons. There are the "Meteorological Seasons" which weather scientists study. Those start on the 1st (June 1 for Summer). 9/1 (Fall); 12/1 (Winter); and 3/1 (Spring) for the Northern Hemisphere. You should mention those as well. They have been studied and marked based on weather data and observation. The solar and lunar astronomical definitions, which show up on calendars, are not the definition of seasons for everyone. Thus, I feel that Summer starts on June 1 (not the middle of June). There are other seasons as well, so your article is not the full answer.

re: Seasons

Thank you Christine for pointing that out !
Between the calendar, and this daylight savings nonsense,
I feel like I need a chiropractor of sorts for an "adjustment".
I would rather "they" (government) would straighten it out,
and let's get back to "natural time". I know when I am, therefore
I know where I am. A good ship and a star to steer her by.
Fair winds good lady.

Jb

Spring Waters Yes Sunny

Season

Canada people enjoy 4Season of the year. It having equality and on time.

A Complete Experience 2017

Remember to 'Wash and Polish Your Wedding Ring, with a Wish and A Prayer for Health, Wealth, Happiness' and A Complete Experience of The Summer Solstice.
Maybe give the dog and cat collar a splash of water and a wish, and The House Number ........

More timezones east of EDT

There are two time zones east of Eastern Daylight savings Time (EDT); Atlantic (ADT) and Newfoundland (NDT). These will hit summer at 1:24am and 1:54am respectively.

OMG - not the first day of summer

June 21 is the MIDDLE day of summer (the 90 longest days of the year)! That's why every non-american in the Northern Hemisphere calls it 'midsummer'.

Amazingly Sweet & Sad )O(

I was on my way to visit with my Ma whom had had a double stroke. While I was going through security my phone rang and when I saw Ma's name I knew she was gone. I collapsed and I don't remember how I got to the gate, but there I was with Jet Blue employees helping me. Because of the time differential I assumed Ma passed to Spirit on the 21st of June. However, when I spoke to the funeral director he said she had passed on the 20th. I didn't realize the significance of this date until I got home and looked at my calendar which still was turned to June. I was hoping Ma could hold on until I got there (I was told she had a week, it turned out to be days) but she was gone before I got there. Now I know why. Though Ma's Spiritual Path was different than mine, she nonetheless understood and respected my Spiritual Path as a Moon Worshiper and an observer of the 8 Spiritual Rites I hold sacred. I believe this was the last gift she could give me. That she knew that every Full Moon I would dance and celebrate the Elders of my Religion and Raise a Cone Of Power. The fact that The Summer Solstice coincides with the Strawberry Moon is not lost on me. Summer was our favorite time of year, and strawberry shortcake was our favorite dessert. It is now July 14th and 3 weeks have passed. I have my waves of joy and sorrow and yet I am grateful to her for leaving me a remembrance that I will celebrate every Full Moon. )O(

Sun solstce and the Mayans

Do they REALLY did that? The Mayans? Or is just another ignorant comment about a culture you don't know anything about? Is this one of those stories the catholic priest told to excuse the enslaving, forced conversion and abuse of the Mayan? After all those savage stories made a good argument about making them good Christians and force them to forget their culture and language. If this is an ignorant patronizing think you say you are just perpetuaring a lie used to kill and conquer a culture

MAYANS -

Francisco,
Your political correctness regarding the Mayans is way out of line relative to history.

The Mayans were perhaps the most evil culture ever to exist. They killed thousands at a time (other indigenous peoples) to satisfy their worshiping of their Sun and Moon "gods". It took Catholic Christianity to get them to stop the killing.

Pax

Full moon

The secular humanist just drips off this article. Not one mention of the power that set these orbs in the heavens in the first place. To God give the glory for the wonderment of the heavens.

The Heavens

Amen! To God be the glory!

Give Glory

I so totally agree, reading about how each planet and star has it's purpose and the earth is so perfectly crafted for human life how can one not acknowledge that there is a Creator of all

Lol, which 'god' exactly?

Lol, which 'god' exactly?
There's 10's of 1000's to choose from over the span of man on this planet, and a different story to go with each one.

Which God?

The Bible describes the God who created all things, his name is Jehovah (Psalm 83:18)

Which God?

I come to find there are many gods (little g)
I found only one God (big G, big difference)though at 30 years old!

Summer Solstice

God spelled backwards is Dog. I find solace in both.

Are you daft? This article is

Are you daft? This article is about an actual astronomical, physical event not some pseudo nonsense.

1st Day Of Summer

It appears that within the last five to ten years (recent memory) someone decided to begin messing with the thought patterns of the Baby Boomers in relation to the First Day of Summer.
It has always been on June 21st prior to that time when the sneaky 'switch' started occurring.
As far as I can remember (all of my life), June 21st was the First Day of Summer.
Even the Almanac and all of the yearly calendars stated the same thing.

I'm sticking with the original date, June 21st because I like the idea of being a purist when it comes down to recognition of when Summer actually begins.
As for the 20th is concerned, it's just another day trying to hijack the original...

Enjoy the full moon tonight.

Solstice time

Summer starts when the Earth is at its most tilted towards the Sun, when our axis is pointed the furthest towards the South.
After this point, the axis begins its 6 month movement back towards North, until the Winter Solstice.
The actual date can and does vary.
This has nothing to do with anything but the Earth's tilt and its movement.

mid summer

I always felt that mid summer is mid way between the summer solstice and the fall equinox.

Midsummer

There really is no debate as to what the Summer Solstice is... the middle of the Summer season, based upon the astronomical reality.

Weather varies from region to region, so there is no absolute basis there. For that, we must look to the stars. As we've become more urbanized and increasingly lost touch with the natural cycles of the planet, we've likewise lost touch with the scientific reality of Nature. We now tend to base our perceptions of the seasons on our own lifestyles... when we take vacations, hold cookouts, enjoy Summer school vacations, etc. We've lost our sense of balance and come to miss the point. Consider the following.

In the Southern Hemisphere, Midwinter is now manifesting. The Sun began its' increase in length (waxing) phase at our (Northern Hemisphere) Midwinter, the longest night, which was its' lowest point, with the least hours of daylight. This is why Midwinter celebrations were so prolific, as it marked newfound hope that the Spring was on its' way back, hence the emphasis on greenery and light in the midst of the deepest darkness. Now, at Midsummer, the Sun will begin to wane (this year shortly after 6:00pm EST) as the days grow progressively shorter.

Modern thinking that the Summer Solstice is the "first day" of Summer is simply wrong. Traditionally, the 1st of May has been considered the first day of Summer, hence the Maypole celebrations, when the "last vestiges of Winter" were bade farewell, and the planting and growth time had returned.

Further Calculations

So, at 6:30am, EDT when the Moon is actually 100% Full, but on the other side of the planet, where, just say Hong Kong, CH, It is 6:30pm, THEY are experiencing, (viewing), the actual overlap of the Full Moon/Summer Solstice, but by the time the Moon appears in the skies over the Eastern US, it is already a waning gibbous, at 99.673% by Moonrise on the East Coast of the US. Of course, The Summer Solstice time is obviously a Global thing, and, although the Full Moon is, technically also, it is not viewable from the entire globe at the precise time of The Summer Solstice. (Bear with me, I have a TBI)

A misnomer and a bit of confusion

Greetings,
I am curious to know, if my calculations are correct, (using what would probably appear to professionals as children's toys, a phone app), if the Full Moon starts at 6:26am EDT, and is only 100% until 7:29 am EDT, and the Summer Solstice doesn't start until 6:34 p.m. EDT, according to this article, then this Summer Solstice and Full Moon coinciding are ONLY coinciding on the same day? But not an actual exact overlap?
I am also trying to figure out why, according to my calculations via a simple astro-clock app, there won't be another overlap such as this until Sunday, June 21, 2111. And it, is also not an exact time overlap, just the same day.
That being said, IS there a time in the distant future where the Summer Solstice overlaps a Full Moon to the hour, and is that even possible?

Thank you

My friend told me that first

My friend told me that first day of summer is may23 is it crocct

1st Day of Summer

More likely the 1st of May. While May can still be cold in various regions, Beltane (or Bealtine, the last day of April into the first day of May) was marked by festivals acknowledging the reign of the Sun once again. Spring planting may have already been underway, depending on where you were located, and the emphasis was on the renewed power of the Sun, often known as Belanus or Bel, hence the term "Bel-Fire". Belfires or Balefires were lit to welcome the Summer across Europe and what is now the UK, a custom which has seen a resurgence, and has been embraced amongst certain factions here in the US.

As our modern society has lost touch with the deep connection to the Earth and its' cycles that were common to our ancestors, and as a result we've fallen into ignorance as to the seasonal cycles.

There is a certain amount of "overlap" from season to season. The Celtic culture was quite influential in regard to our modern system. In that, the year was divided three ways. First, Winter and Summer, half and half. Secondly, into four quarters... Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn. Winter was viewed as the "dead time" of the Earth, Spring was the rebirth or resurrection of the life of the Earth, Summer was the time of growth and teeming life, and Autumn was the time of harvest and the winding down of another year. Finally, the year was further divided into eighths. 31 October marked Samhain, the ending of the year as 1 November ushered in Winter. The Winter Solstice marked the halfway point, when the waning hours of daylight were at their least, and the moment of the darkest depth of night brought the turning point, wherein the hours of daylight began to slowly increase. (This was the basis for the traditions of bringing greenery and bright decorations into the house, many of which have carried over into our more modern Christmas celebrations.) Imbolc, later Candlemas, was when the sheep began to lactate, and Winter began to lose its' grip as Spring stirred deep within the Earth. The Spring Equinox marked the balance of the hours of daylight and darkness, and hence was celebrated as the first day of the Spring season, the theme being the resurrection of life within the Earth. Beltane, or May Day, was when the warmth was at last gaining final reign once more, and the power of the Sun was providing fertility to the soil. Midsummer was the high point, the apex, of the season of growth. After this apex, the hours of daylight again began to shrink toward Winter. Lammas, the Feast of the First Bread, marked the beginning of the harvest season, when the grains were cut and both processed and stored. The Autumnal Equinox, when the hours of daylight and darkness were again in balance, was often referred to as Harvest Home due to the fact that the mainstay of the crops were already harvested or were ready for harvesting. This was viewed as a time of abundance, and was the catalyst for the Fall celebrations we still see today. As the hours of daylight continued to decrease, it brought us back around to Samhain, the death of the old year and the birth of the new.

Weather-wise, there was the obvious overlap in weather patterns. For example, even though Lammas marked the first harvest and what was then thought of as the beginning of Autumn, the heat index often remained high well into September. By the same token, Imbolc (or more popularly Groundhog Day, marking the last six weeks of Winter) remained cold, the ground often covered with ice and snow, despite the fact that the first signs of Spring were evident.

It's easy to see how we lost track of the true seasonal phases in this modern world, where farming is no longer a leading industry.

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