Summer Solstice 2019: First Day of Summer

When is the First Day of Summer 2019?

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 2019, as well as solstice facts and FAQs.

When is the Summer Solstice?

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

Summer Soltise

As I am not a farmer or no nothing of farming I was led to believe that the first day of summer is 21st June. Even Stonehenge and British Heritage say the same. Can you please tell me why then it is the 20th June to a farmer and does that change yearly because there seems to be some confusion.

First day of summer

My birthday is June 21st, I will be 54, and I can NEVER remember a year that the first day of summer was NOT June 21st.

Me too

I've always remembered the 1st day of summer being June 21st also. I feel for you, especially on your birthday. My youngest was born on December 20, and I've always told him that it was the LAST day of fall. It would change a lot if it was the 1st day of winter suddenly. This changing of dates is nonsense. They should stick with the reason we added February 29 in the 1st place.

Me too, to both

But I will be 52. Happy birthday, Karen!

My birthday is also the 21st

My birthday is also the 21st and I have had the same experience .. It has ALWAYS been the 21st!

1st day of Summer ?

I am 75 years old and have always known the 1st day of summer was on June 21st....my birthday in June 22nd, so it is something I have always paid attention to. Why is it the 20th of June this year?

First day of summer

Janetta, the summer solstice occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer. That can occur from June 20th to June 22nd. It is far more common on the 21st so this year has an additional "rarity" but a June 22nd solstice would be far rarer. BTW, for most of the Eastern Hemisphere the solstice WILL be the 21st. This year the first FULL day of summer will be on the 21st (forget all those other posters - the summer solstice marks the first day of summer),

Summer Soltice

this proves two things, that everything revolves around the thinking ot eh Northern Hemisphere and not Summer in Australia, and secondly that time and calendars are relevant and humankind has had to make a reference point to create the counting of time and years. Otherwise how would people decide what point on a circles circumference is the begining

Solstice

Hi Ron, FYI, The Old Farmer’s Almanac is a publication in North America; we sell our book in the United States and Canada. This is why we refer to Northern Hemisphere.

whew ! read all the way down

whew ! read all the way down to all comments and contradictions of who knows what and 'for sure' should never be questioned, not them, anyhow.

the slew of Information that may fit some and not others can all be combined in a delicious word-stew to share .... and served w/o pre-selections or arguments. Wouldn't that be a lovely 'share'? or a stomach-churning disturbance ?

dunno

Reading a lot of

Reading a lot of discussion-attempts to define- demands to be Right - and the usual banter of those who insist they Know Best Most...

we note the usual - infighting - to be RIGHT !
and reprimanding another for dissenting or repeating their 'beliefs' as thus being not the 'whole truth' but a slant-version

vs. someone else's authoritarian "facts"- as if that means these words/thoughts are absolute, True, only one True, and unquestionable because science and theorists never learn better.

and the Always amazing power-positioning themselves of how much each naturalist, liberalist, free-dom-demanders are claiming to Own and have the AUTHORITARIAN power to define and reject and publicly shame others. Only 1 right answer is allowed. Only 1 in-group of agreers know the answer. Only that writer is Right ! yet again....
Not only on these comments - same phenomena occurs many elsewheres too...each writer w/o noticing falls into the pattern of arguing They Know and They should be Believed and elevated,too.

No, we can't all 'get along'...obviously.

just Notice [here and elsewhere too] how much people love to argue publicly-exposed-visibly when they cant do it directly privately - to whomever.

wonder why ?
I do

Wow. I had to read that three

Wow. I had to read that three times to truly understand your vibe. Can't agree more.
I'm guessing they also argue privately, to whomever. You'll know them by their misery.

My ex would argue with the

My ex would argue with the cat. Seriously. I heard her one day when she thought I wasn't home.

If you're referring to the

If you're referring to the Midsummer/Summer Solstice/First Day of Summer comments, there really is no argument at all for those who care to observe reality.

The Summer Solstice is the astronomical apex of the Sun's annual journey, not the beginning. It is the middle of said energy tides, demonstrated by the fact that the days-- from that point-- begin to grow shorter, not increase. Ergo, the Summer Solstice is the middle of Summer, as its' older name, "Midsummer", tells us.

One may choose to view it differently, but if you want to be correct, based upon science, 21 June marks Midsummer. That is simply a fact, not an opinion. We do not decide these things, the solar system does.

I have no idea how the OFA came to designate "Midsummer" as being a few days after the Summer Solstice, nor what that designation is based on, but it's wrong. Sort of like saying Christmas Day is the middle of Autumn, then saying Christmas Eve falls on 27 December.

Public discourse

Welcome to Pendant heaven: the internet. This new medium is still evolving. Consider this to be analogous to the toddler stage of human development. "Me! me! me!, my toy!" The lack of direct personal speech allows us enough emotional distance to forget manners and civility. Eventually, only the thickest of skins will remain to do battle. Eventually, the medium will start to mature in the wake. Ladies and gentlemen will then find a means to connect on the net with gentility, sidestepping the browbeating, sanctimonious and self-righteous bores.

My thoughts of Summer

My thoughts of Summer Solstice/Midsummer/Litha/Apex of the Sun's Rays,

Sleeping with the window open to take in the sounds of wildlife.
Getting up early with the Suns Ray in my face waking me somewhat gently.
Having a fan running circulating the breeze I might not get at the moment.
Taking in the thunderstorms with the rain & lightening. And charging the atmosphere with negative ions for healing of the earth's body and all of creation.
Walking about the garden either on the porch or grounds and gently brushing my hand across each plant and sniffing that hand.
Setting on the table & chairs minerals, flowers & statuary that is pleasing to meditation during the stay whenever it is that day.
And finally gently looking forward to the Earth preparing to go into her Croning becoming the Grandmother.
Having been the Mother now, and being the young Maiden during the Spring.
Such are the thoughts.
Love, Peace and Healing to all Beings
Earth wise & Celestial

Summer is beautiful. The

Summer is beautiful. The summer storms, the late nights, the social activities. And more.

Especially the mosquitoes!

Especially the mosquitoes! x.x

OK - maybe I'm archaic (50)

OK - maybe I'm archaic (50) but... when I was a child it was "universally" acknowledged that the equinoxes were mid-season. Our little classroom picture-calendars showed these seasons, and our children's TV backed them up. I'm only talking about the '60s and'70s now - not the 11th century :)
Our seasons were:
Winter - November, December, January
Spring - February, March, April
Summer - May, June, July
Autumn - August, September, October
Consider all the poetry, movies, songs and stories which are about or refer to the seasons - they all back this up. Yes I have seen snow, here in the UK, in May - which is why it is memorable and talked about - because it is unexpected and at odds with the season.
Even the explanation of Astronomical seasons above backs this up. Surely by the time the equinoxes are happening (earth tilted to / away from the sun)that is evidently a "mid-point" of something - not the "start" of something - and if these dates have to be used as "starting points" why commandeer the seasons for this use? The seasons are defined by the light and weather.
June is, and has been for generations, Midsummer. As someone pointed out - refer to Shakespear!

I thinks it's more like

I thinks it's more like winter: Dec, Jan, Feb /spring: Mar, Apr, May/ summer: June, July, Aug/ fall: Sept, Oct, Nov. Midsummer to me seems more of a reference to the middle of the yr than the middle of a season. Maybe I'm wrong lol.

I agree. August is DEFINITELY

I agree. August is DEFINITELY still summer. Especially where I'm from: Texas.

I agree. Midsummer = Mid

I agree. Midsummer = Mid season. Not the start.

"When Razorium lizards all

"When Razorium lizards all come together, the first day of summer will be shredded into happiness." -Proverb

Summer begins in May ! Your

Summer begins in May !
Your Summer might officially begin on June 21 but
Here in the Deep South summer begins around
May 1. We start seeing temperatures in the upper
80's. Now it's June and temps are already in
the mid 90s with high humidity and killer heat indexes
in the triple digits. It's not a fun time.

The June 21 Summer Solstice

The June 21 Summer Solstice has nothing to do with how hot it is in the deep south or how chilly it still may be in the far north....lol. It's the 1 day out of the year with the longest daylight!

The fact that Summer Solstice

The fact that Summer Solstice is the longest day proves the fact that it is the midpoint-- not the beginning-- of Summer, hence MIDsummer. If it were the beginning of Summer, the Suns' energy would not be reaching its' zenith and then beginning to recede, with the days growing shorter from that point.

We of the 21st century have so lost our way when it comes to even the most basic reality regarding correct seasonal observation.

Is there a name for when the

Is there a name for when the 1st day of summer (summer solstice) ends and the 2nd day of summer begins?

Yes. It's called midnight.

Yes. It's called midnight.

Brilliant!

Brilliant!

Let's not bring the "mid or

Let's not bring the "mid or start" argument here.

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