First day of summer

Lazy town in english sports day

If we think about it, it makes sense that Icelanders want to celebrate the arrival of summer after the long winter months, but… why do they do it in April, how did this tradition originate and how is it celebrated today?

The first day of Harpa (or the First Day of Summer) was known as Girls’ or Maidens’ Day, where young boys were supposed to welcome the «maiden» Harpa and had to be especially courteous and kind to the girls. They repaid the treat by doing the same to them on the first day of the month Einmánudur and making it Boys’ Day.

Lazy town in spanish

The summer solstice, for the northern hemisphere, is when the sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky. The solstice will occur at 6:07 a.m. on June 21. This is due to the tilt in the Earth’s axis.

After that, the days will be shorter and the highest point of the sun will fall in the sky, until the winter solstice, which will be on Friday, December 21 at 5:23 p.m. The opposite is true in the Southern Hemisphere, where June 21 marks the beginning of winter.

First day of summer 2021

That is, it is the point of the Earth’s orbit in its path around our star where the Sun is more in front of our hemisphere, so its rays will fall more directly. This translates into an apparent movement of the Sun towards its northernmost point on the celestial vault. After that moment it «restarts its journey» towards the south. Hence the etymological origin of the word, which comes from the Latin solstitium (sol sistere), meaning «still Sun»: it seems that the star stands still and then goes back down in the sky.

The tilt of the axis on which the Earth rotates explains the seasons, the solstices and the equinoxesToday’s phenomenon, as well as the equinoxes and the seasons, occur because the axis on which our planet rotates on itself like a spinning top is tilted 23.5º with respect to the orbit. If this were not the case, the sun’s rays would always strike in the same way and the climate would not show these changes.

The explanation for seasonal variations is not, therefore, how close we are to the Sun: the Earth’s orbit is not elliptical enough to explain the differences. In fact, in the northern hemisphere summer, the planet is farther away from the star.

First day of autumn 2021

Traditionally, the winter and summer solstices mark the change of seasons along with the spring and summer equinoxes. Today, however, meteorologists officially use temperature records to draw the boundaries between the seasons. So what exactly are the solstices, and how have they been celebrated throughout history? Here’s all you need to know:

In Egypt, the Great Pyramids of Giza also appear to be aligned with the Sun. When viewed from the Sphinx, the Sun sets between the pyramids of Cheops and Chephren during the summer solstice, although how the ancient Egyptians managed to orient them this way is unknown.


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