What Does “Solstice” Mean?


The summer solstice marks the longest day of the calendar year and the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. But what does the word solstice mean, and what does it have to do with Shakespeare?

The term solstice is derived from the Latin scientific term solstitium. Containing the Latin sol- meaning “the sun” and sistere meaning “to make stand.” Today the term solstice is used to describe the exact moment when the sun reaches its northernmost point (around June 21) or southernmost point (around December 22) from the earth’s equator.

Summer lasts from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox, one of two times a year when the sun crosses the plane of the earth’s equator, making night and day approximately equal length. Days lengthen from the winter solstice to the summer solstice, after which they begin to shorten.

William Shakespeare clearly had astronomy on his mind when he chose the title A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a tale of enchantment that takes place on midsummer’s eve, or, as we commonly refer to it, the summer solstice. Shakespeare is also credited with the first-known citation of the phrase “midsummer madness,” a line uttered by Olivia in Twelfth Night after encountering a cross-gartered Malvolio. This seasonal transition was thought to be a time when witches and other supernatural beings caused widespread mischief. Additionally, some plants were thought to possess magical healing powers and bonfires were thought to ward off malicious spirits. Midsummer’s Eve is a national holiday in Sweden and Finland.

How will you celebrate the upcoming solstice? Let us know.

Want to learn more about the difference between the equinox and the solstice? Read more here.


  1. MRTN -  October 8, 2015 - 1:00 am

    Like Shakespear ever excisted.. LOL!

  2. Dianne T. DeSha -  September 22, 2015 - 10:07 am

    What I’ve never understood is why the solstice is considered the start of summer, rather than it’s mid point. A sentence like “Midsummer’s Day is the summer solstice, the start of summer” makes no sense at all, unless there is some general meaning of “mid” that I’m unaware of.

    This probably bothers me more because I live in Los Angeles, where it’s hot from mid-May into October (our “Dog Days” tend to be late August through September), but still, from an astronomical perspective even, shouldn’t the solstices–when the planet is closest/furthest from the sun be considered the “high point” or “midpoint” of the season? After all, the way it’s counted today, the summer “starts” at the point where the days get shorter and further from the sun?

    (I have the same argument for winter: there’s a reason there’s a Christmas song called “In The Bleak Midwinter” and the winter solstice has always been considered the darkest, coldest time of year.)

    I think that in turning to an astronomical basis for the terms someone mistranslated or misunderstood the more traditional approach.

  3. Praveen Singh -  July 12, 2015 - 11:29 pm

    Its very hot day in INDIA,MEERUT (21 June)

  4. Seagiver -  June 25, 2014 - 12:47 pm

    We gathered in a park, sang, danced and and wove healing wishes into knitted belts or headbands, and wreaths of flowers which we then wore to thank and honor sun goddesses from around the world. It was very invigorating and inspirational.

  5. Archon -  June 24, 2014 - 3:29 pm

    ….third paragraph
    Days continue to lengthen from the Vernal (Spring) equinox, not the Autumnal!

    • Gooseberry -  June 30, 2014 - 1:35 am

      “Summer lasts from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox”

      It does not mention lengthening, so therefore is correct.

    • Jerrylyn -  June 23, 2014 - 1:28 pm

      Woah ! It’s june 21 my birthday :)

  6. vince -  June 21, 2014 - 8:44 am

    me, i’m obviosly working

  7. anthea -  June 21, 2014 - 6:19 am

    you are so blessed with sunny weather.Its very cold in CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA

    • anthea kortjé -  June 21, 2014 - 7:13 am

      summer solstice (noun) Astronomy The solstice on the or about 21June that marks the beginning

  8. anshad -  June 20, 2014 - 11:02 am

    Nice image

  9. John -  June 25, 2013 - 1:27 am

    We had a circle dance

  10. blessing ibingha -  June 24, 2013 - 1:21 pm

    maybe sit in d beach with handful of chips*** admiring d sea!!!! What a pleasure to have d leisure!!

  11. Zela -  June 24, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    Down in NZ we have our Winter Solstice. Coincides with the Maori celebration of Matariki.

    • Gooseberry -  June 30, 2014 - 1:36 am

      They knew.

  12. Teto -  June 22, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    I will go to our swimming pool with my friends and, as usual, observe all the spectacular rainbows on the bottom produced from the action of the waves or ripples on the surface. It happens when the sun is at 58 degrees and I am facing it. The way to remember the colors of the raibow in proper order is ROY G. BIV = Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo,Violet. The color closest to the sun is always Blue, the farthest from the sun is Red. When there is a BUBBLE on the surface to cast a rainbow on the bottom there are TWO rainbows to look at. Top of the bubble is Blue progressing to Red, Red becomes Brown then Black then back into Blue again thru Red. That’s your lesson for today children from your 90 year old Grama.

    • gmsg -  June 23, 2014 - 7:35 am

      Teto, you are right about rainbow colors. Of course, I am not 90yrs. yet. But, I’ m a grandma also, and now day kids give me a blank looks if I ask them like rainbow colors. It makes me feel sad. I am hoping I can least can teach them a simple things like rainbow colors. They know all about computers and cell phone. But, not a things around them. Like simple and little things in life. Flowers, hummingbird and rainbow. Well, I’m punching keys on my cell phone also. Hahaha. Ironic.

  13. Chenka -  June 22, 2013 - 2:17 am

    Well, since we seem to be in a pedantic mode, I’ll throw in my two cents. It’s not the longest day of the year. Every day of the year is the same length of time – 24 hours. It is the day with the longest length of time between sunrise and sunset, commonly referred to as “daylight.”


    Happy new season to all, be it summer or winter. Here in San Francisco, we participate in the world music party mentioned above. It’s great fun.

  14. blythe -  June 21, 2013 - 8:56 pm

    astronomically speaking, the days lengthen from the winter solstice to the summer solstice, NOT just from the equinox. and, conversely, they shorten from the summer solstice to the winter solstice, NOT just from the equinox. could we at least get that part of it correct?

    how will I be celebrating? with joy, and laughter, and a bottle of good wine.

  15. Edward Caldron -  June 21, 2013 - 7:45 pm

    I live in the summer land. We have summer all day, every day of the year. We have no autumn, no winter nor spring, but summer. I live by the beach on the ocean front and this is like an everyday party. We don´t even care about the sun and when it rains, another party. Well I got into your dictionary I wanted to find out for a word, but I forgot the word, so I´ll go back to the beach and try to remember that word. OK
    have fun with your sun and cheer up.

  16. Nikki -  June 21, 2013 - 9:29 am

    It’s called Midsummer because our European ancestors recognized only two seasons: Summer and Winter. The summer solstice marked the middle of Summer, which went from the Spring Equinox to the Autumn Equinox, while the Winter Solstice marked the middle of Winter, which lasted from the Autumn Equinox to the Spring Equinox. Spring and autumn were not independent seasons, just transitional periods that overlapped the ends of Winter and Summer. In other words, “spring” was a period that spanned the tail end of Winter and the beginning of Summer, while “autumn” was a period that spanned the tail end of Summer and the beginning of Winter. Shakespeare has nothing to do with it, except that he was utilizing the traditional view of the seasons and holidays held by our forebears.

  17. Jeremy -  June 21, 2013 - 9:03 am

    The Roman calendar had 365 days NOT 360. In fact Julius Caesar corrected the existing calendar by adding a leap year day every four years.

    The Romans were not on a lunar calendar. Pope Gregor later amended the Julian calendar to remove the leap year day once every 200 years, when it’s a century mark not divisible by 200 because an Earth revolution is 365 days 5 hrs and 56 minutes. The almost six hours extra every year accumulates over four years to make an extra day. But the four minutes short of 6 hours accumulates over centuries in the other direction.

  18. gatorgirl -  June 21, 2013 - 7:07 am

    Celebrating the anniversary of my daughter’s birth. Maybe I should have named her Vesta? The year she was born it also fell on father’s day.

  19. memee -  June 21, 2013 - 5:59 am

    pheww..preparing for entry test :/

  20. R&C -  June 21, 2013 - 5:40 am

    I have to laugh at those who try to turn science into a religious topic. Someone made a great point about a quote from the Bible regarding not judging others and you won’t be judged…something like that.

    As for what we’ll do to celebrate June 21st…hopefully have an orgy. :)

    If I made any spelling/grammatical/typo errors then I welcome someone to spend the time correcting me…and wondering if I made them on purpose for you to correct them. ;)

  21. Ms Peach -  June 21, 2013 - 3:48 am

    It’s my birthday and my niece/goddaughter is getting married. <3

  22. FirstFrog -  June 21, 2013 - 1:51 am

    It is freezing and dark here in Tasmania, Australia. We are marking the solstice with lantern walks and bonfires, soup and early nights with a good book. Some will even swim naked tomorrow. And we are all looking forward to the return of the sun.

  23. warjna -  June 20, 2013 - 11:48 pm

    @Dave – and thanks, @Archon! – yes, spelt. Just like knelt. Old forms of spelled and kneeled, which are also still actively used in the UK and affiliates.

    To Dictionary.com: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for explaining that the summer solstice marks MIDSUMMER, not “the First Day of Summer,” which is one of my screamingest pet peeves (along with the winter solstice being MIDWINTER day, not “the First Day of Winter.”) Both of those egregious errors have been perpetrated upon the uneducated American public by ignorant card and calendar companies. To Hallmark and the rest – for gosh sakes, LOOK IT UP! Those Christmas carols don’t say “In the bleak first day of winter!” for a reason!

    Sorry, everyone – rant over. ;-)

  24. Linda -  June 20, 2013 - 6:37 pm

    We Australians, use the words solstice and equinox !! :)

  25. Novelist -  June 20, 2013 - 5:57 pm

    @George Hastings;

    You, Sir, are entirely too intelligent !!! However, I whole-heartedly agree with you and old Marcus; it is indeed “a precious privilege to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love”, and may we all continue to do so for many more summer solstices, and equinoxes as well.

    To those of you who believe that you must be snarky when point out a simple error in spelling or word usage, please consider this paraphrasing of the admonition given by Jesus, “Let he who is among you who has never erred cast the first disparaging remark”.

    I wish a happy solstice to all…

  26. AJakesCakes -  June 20, 2013 - 2:35 pm

    I’ll be camping with my girlfriend and we’ll perform a special solstice harvest ritual together, concluding with the ceremonial campfire burning of sonnets we will compose in our own blood in honor of each other. I love her so.

  27. Dr Dirk -  June 20, 2013 - 1:59 pm

    Being in the northern hemisphere, I will enjoy the summmer solstice knowing the days will finally become shorter. I’m looking forward to the weather cooling off.

    Thanks to Shivering for answering a question I’ve had for a long time: what words do Australians (or any of those upside-down people in the bottom hemisphere) use to describe the time of the solstices and equinoxes?

  28. Natasha -  June 20, 2013 - 1:58 pm

    - When writing “Pliny the Elder used the term in his Natural History,” Natural History be italicized.

    Seems my own comma and quotation mark disappeared. Ah, well, such is life.

  29. Natasha -  June 20, 2013 - 1:55 pm

    It seems that several people have already commented on proofreading and a few errors have been changed, but some errors are still there. It is becoming so common for internet articles from even the most respectable sources to contain grammatical errors and typographical mistakes that I am beginning to worry for the future of written language. I would not make such a post on other websites, because it would be pointless. However, this is dictionary.com! I would hope that a website dedicated to the written word would be more careful!

    - “Sol,” not the prefix “so-,” is the Latin for “sun.”

    - When writing “Pliny the Elder used the term in his Natural History Natural History be italicized.

    - So too should A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    - “For example, ancient Rome’s festival of Vestalia – a celebration honoring the Roman Goddess of the hearth, Vesta, was the only time of the year that married woman were allowed to enter the shrine of Vesta.” There are two errors here. First, if you set a phrase apart from the rest of a sentence, be consistent and use either two dashes or two commas! Second, the sentence should use “married women” or “a married woman.” The difference between “woman” and “women” is as often mixed up as “then” and “than,” and both mistakes are very irritating!

  30. MC in TX -  June 20, 2013 - 11:35 am

    Minor FYI: Slight typo in the article. “Sol” is the Latin word for “sun” and the prefix used in solstitium. There may be cases where “sol” is abbreviated to “so” as a prefix but that is not the case here obviously.

  31. mellyrn -  June 20, 2013 - 11:03 am

    I’d heard somewhere that the old Celts considered “summer” to run from about the first of May to early August; “fall”, from then till about Hallowe’en; “winter”, from then till early February, and “spring”, from then till May again. Iirc, starting summer on the solstice was a later thing.

  32. Sergio -  June 20, 2013 - 10:22 am

    I´ll do what I always do….have fun!!!!

  33. Steve -  June 20, 2013 - 8:54 am

    I plan to take a late evening walk in the park. And I plan to sit and swing beneath the night sky. Hopefully it is pleasant weather!

  34. David -  June 20, 2013 - 8:46 am

    The Swedes make a big ‘fun’ event of Midsummer Eve, celebrating in grand style with dancing around maypoles, eating lovely food and enjoying beer, wine and vodka. In some ways the celebrations are almost spiritual… almost, but not.

  35. spifyfish -  June 20, 2013 - 8:16 am

    I like these articles because I get to learn something new everysingle day. I kinda love hearing all these FREAKIN NEGATIVE PEOPLE judge everyone else on their comments when they’re not perfect………..
    (this goes to ANYBODY who makes a negative comment)

    Personally, however you choose to celebrate the solstice is cool. i really like the first comment, walkin’ on the beach (:

    So please stop fighting! I may not be religious or a god believer, but I have read the Bible and many other religious texts. I seem to recall a little comment about, ” Judge not, and ye shall not be judged;……” and they happen to be very good words to live by.

  36. elaine -  June 20, 2013 - 4:48 am

    WIth any luck I will be at stonehenge! woo!

  37. Joe WHITTEN -  June 20, 2013 - 4:17 am

    Midsummer’s Night is actually Midsummer’s Eve. Midsummer’s Day is the ancient Christian Feast of Saint John the Baptist, tied to the summer solstice as Christmas is tied to the winter solstice. The feast is not so ancient as is it still in the Roman Catholic calendar. The solstice aspect can still be experienced , e.g., the Saint John bonfires (la Saint-Jean) in Paris. Note the Shakespearean parallel with Twelfth Night and the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany. “What You Will” (sorry) find is that the play was an entertainment for the celebration of Twelfth Night, just as, for years, New York City ballet scheduled a performance of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream – music by Mendelssohn – on 23 June.

  38. Ole TBoy -  June 20, 2013 - 4:11 am

    When a reader calls attention to an error the editors do the right thing and correct the error. Undoubtedly, when it first appeared Piny was the spelling used. Then corrections were offered–and made. That is how learning progresses.

  39. Neil -  June 20, 2013 - 3:29 am

    @Persephone, you should be annoyed at those (the majority of the American population) who claim that summer starts when the sun is at its highest, not those who say that it straddles that period.

    @Kathy, it does move, but only by several hours.

    @Ben Curtis, why do you think the Julian calendar had to be introduced to sort it out? (Yes, it was a bit more complicated than that.)

    @XfildChild, I think you mean “Be still”.

  40. Mexicali Puck -  June 20, 2013 - 2:07 am

    No wonder why all this is so complicated to me!!! I’m from the hottest city in the world where the summer starts in April and ends till September, or sometimes October. Temperatures rise all the way to 125 degrees Celcius on the hottest days in late July and other days in August.

    So what will I be doing??? I’ll be inside my house(that is, our desert caves) with the AC on and not going out until late at night when the lowest temperatures get to 90 degrees and it isn’t “risky” to be out exposed to the Sol.

  41. jew -  March 28, 2013 - 12:23 am

    Wow, i haven’t heard these before. So great.

  42. XfildChild -  March 5, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    I celebrate the solstices the exact same way; by driving to the beach in the morning to watch the sun rise over the ocean. Bestill my “pagan solstice worshipp[ing]” heart!

    By the way, Rick, if you are a Buddhist, besides knowing how to properly spell the name of your religion, perhaps you need to brush up on the Noble Eightfold Path. I seem to recall hearing something about Right Speech and Right Conduct in there. It does not appear that your comment would adhere to these.

  43. Marta Nicholas -  July 1, 2011 - 6:40 pm

    All Sorts of People Making All Kinds of MUSIC All Over the City All Throughout the Longest Day of the Year. It started in Paris in 1982; now that’s how folks in about 500 cities around the world mark June 21. If it’s not already happening where you live, start planning for it as a yearly event beginning Summer Solstice 2012 in your city/town/village/neighborhood/house/room. Imagine a whole day of everyone everywhere expressing his/her love of Music (even if it’s just whistling off-key) and sharing that enjoyment with others.

  44. Dictionary -  June 28, 2011 - 8:44 am

    @ Robin Goodfellow,
    Pliny the Elder did write the Encyclopedia of Natural History. The information is available at Wikipedia.com.


    –noun, plural -ar·ies.

  45. Ben -  June 28, 2011 - 5:57 am

    Wouldn’t this confusion come down to the fact that Autumn (or Fall) and Spring are newer inventions.

    The year used to be divided into Summer and Winter, each running from one equinox until the next.

    That way the solstice would occur in the middle of the summer.

  46. Lefty -  June 23, 2011 - 5:48 pm


  47. louis paiz -  June 23, 2011 - 5:16 am

    hi clark life is a learning prosses from where every body can learn no matter how the individual answer a question. i am learning from you and from every body else.the smarter the individual is the more we can learnfrom him or her.thanks

  48. KAT ROTN -  June 21, 2011 - 11:40 pm


  49. Shivering -  June 21, 2011 - 8:57 pm

    It is snowing less than two hours west of Sydney. We will be celebrating the WINTER solstice by coccooning here in the southern hemisphere.

  50. clark -  June 21, 2011 - 8:46 pm

    The only question asked here is How will you celebrate the upcoming solstice,but only a few answered. The problem? A lot of brainy commenters here which are most welcomed ruined the learnings and just bully the others. Is there any moderators here in this site who might want to check out what is their problem? And if possible avoid them. For me its not that good hopefully those who do things like this are perfect human beings.

  51. Archon -  June 21, 2011 - 8:06 pm

    @ Dave

    …and it was Mary who used “spelt’, not Carol.

  52. Archon -  June 21, 2011 - 7:59 pm

    @ Dave

    Yep, spelt! Acceptable alternative formation. It’s actually the original form, “spelled” didn’t show up till later. It’s somewhat archaic, but us “old fogies”, who remember how to speak and write the language, still use it. You’re on the Dictionary site, look it up. Spelt is also a type of grain somewhere between wheat and rye. My grandson is allergic to wheat, so my wife and daughter have both learned to make spelt bread. Buying it is 3 to 4 times as expensive as regular bread.

  53. ENRIQUE ESPINOSA GUILLEN -  June 21, 2011 - 5:52 pm

    VERY GOOD!!!

  54. _________ -  June 21, 2011 - 3:25 pm

    @ Book Beater
    She probably meant eating nothing BUT watermelon

  55. Patrice921 -  June 21, 2011 - 1:54 pm

    I will be standing at the South Bay of Los Angeles, counting down, “Going, going, going,” until the sun slips beyond the horizon. Then I will exclaim, “Gone!” And a new year has begun for me.

  56. Annika -  June 21, 2011 - 11:41 am

    According to my dad, today’s the last day of summer! Tomorrow it’s getting darker again and soon enough another winter’s at the door. Spring was like a month ago…

  57. Book Beater -  June 21, 2011 - 10:35 am

    What a terrible way to go! No watermellon for three days?
    My goal will be to beat my sib’s out of their watermelon’s and hot dog’s.Perhaps the beer too! ( picture Daffy Duck @ aladin’s cave)

  58. Sam -  June 21, 2011 - 9:56 am

    I will probably play outside and relax under a tree.

  59. varika -  June 21, 2011 - 9:46 am

    Jendayi–you won’t have watermelon for three days? Or you will fast of anything BUT watermelon? Personally I’d rather do the latter, if I had to choose, but can I make it cantaloupe instead?

  60. louis paiz -  June 21, 2011 - 9:44 am

    well i love the sun not only on summer but all the time. when i was a litle boy my nana used to bring me to an small hill to see the sun set in summer time or at all the time. i used to ask my grand father where the sun used to go every night,hes answer was that to china.now i live in stamford ct and the simbol is the sun, love to see how the letter s is drow with clows in the middle of it.also i remember when i so the sun in new hampshire it was so beautiful so magestic that i toght it was just mine i love soltice or or midsummer night. thanks

  61. Ben Curtis -  June 21, 2011 - 8:51 am

    The most fascinating thing mentioned in this article is that apparently the year was shorter by 5 days in ancient Rome. Who woulda thunk?

  62. Jendayi -  June 21, 2011 - 8:40 am

    I will celebrate the summer solstice with a three day watermelon fast…

  63. ADA -  June 21, 2011 - 8:29 am

    Happy Birthday to Sandra =)

  64. Joey -  June 21, 2011 - 8:15 am

    wooo!! haha today is my birthday and i seen this so i thought id read up, its pretty cool the different things people celebrate today…

  65. Dave -  June 21, 2011 - 7:42 am


  66. RICKEDY RICK -  June 21, 2011 - 7:23 am

    Midsummer is August 1st. THAT is why at hy house, they always perform the play on or around that date.

    Now, as far as you pagan soltice worshippers go, you and your moon and stars and wizards aren’t going to get anywhere with your outdated, antiquated, ancient wierd beleifs!

    You all tell me that my Bhuddism is no good because the book Sidhastartha was written in BC times.

    Well, all you soltice “wiccan” Baal and Baphomet worshippers predate my book, and you all go about quoting ancient Sumerians! What a crock you all are!

  67. George Hastings -  June 21, 2011 - 5:20 am

    Summer will officially arrive in the Northern Hemisphere tomorrow at 1:16 p.m. EDT. At that precise moment the noon Sun will be at the zenith directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23° 26′ 16″ N, 79° W. That’s a spot 178 miles SE of Miami and 53 miles due north of Parc Nacional de Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba.
    “When you arise in the morning, think what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”…..Marcus Aurelius…A.D. 180

  68. CateB -  June 21, 2011 - 4:55 am

    @ 10over6
    I think the point they are making is that while is seems strange to refer to the first day of summer as midsummer’s eve, the timing of the summer solstice as the first day of summer is based on meteorology (using temperature patterns), but referring to the summer solstice as midsummer’s eve comes from astronomy (using day lengths).

  69. Ivan -  June 21, 2011 - 4:19 am

    With a chilled South African white wine balancing out those axial tilts – the beginning of the summer where I am and the beginning of winter in the southern hemisphere…Cheers to the longest day of the year!

  70. EL -  June 21, 2011 - 4:04 am

    Did you guys ever think to give the benefit of the doubt to Carole? She is one of three (Jamie and Jack the other two) who mentioned the error. Clearly it was edited after their comments and before yours.

    That being said, “so” should be “sol,” and “woman” should be “women.” But enough of that.. I’ll be celebrating the day by enjoying as much of the day outside as possible.

  71. tan -  June 21, 2011 - 3:13 am

    the funniest part is watching everyone contradict and insult each other. and i support you wholly, insufferable know-it-all. which contradicts the ‘insufferable’…

  72. sandra -  June 20, 2011 - 11:02 pm

    i will be celebrating it, as usual, with a piece of my birthday cake!

  73. KT -  June 20, 2011 - 11:01 pm

    Celebrate with a nice dip in the lake… nude!

  74. Nazir Habib -  June 20, 2011 - 10:40 pm

    Hopefully take a five kilometer walk back home after office. Drink a fruit juice midway and thank GOD ALLMIGHTY for His Benevolence. Salams to all peace loving people.

  75. U~no~watt~Im~sayn' -  June 20, 2011 - 9:52 pm

    n~joyin’ the sweet heat O’ summa!!!

  76. Sultan -  June 20, 2011 - 9:49 pm

    i need translator

  77. Amit -  June 20, 2011 - 9:03 pm

    I wonder, how could you come up with such knowledgeable and interesting essays so frequently. I have learnt so many things in last one year or so. Great! And thanks also.

  78. Harry C. -  June 20, 2011 - 8:22 pm

    I gonna stay up all the night,burn the “Midsummer’s Night” oil to hit the Shakespear’s tome A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

  79. Silent -  June 20, 2011 - 7:49 pm

    And the stars will aid in her escape…

  80. victorella -  June 20, 2011 - 7:27 pm

    Uh, maybe they fixed it?

    I’m with 10over6 – WHAT are they talking about? The lead to this article said there’s a mix-up, and blamed Shakespeare – but the article says ol’ Willy had it right in the first place. It didn’t even touch on any misconceptions, like maybe Persephone’s confusion about the meaning of midsummer.

    The summer solstice always makes me sad, because the days will only get shorter, even though summer is just getting started.

  81. Archon -  June 20, 2011 - 6:56 pm

    @ Persephone

    Wouldn’t the “Midsummer” day of the 91 day season stretching from June 21 to Sept. 21 fall closer to August 5 or 6, rather than July 15? Or do you just consider June, July and August to be summer, and to hell with the calendar.

    @ 10over6

    They did answer the question. The problem, in case you didn’t pay enough attention, is that it depends on who you ask, and when. Might be yes. Might be no. Might be “none of the above.” Some people think that solid questions must have solid answers, but that is not always the case. The answer to this one is about as solid as a toasted marshmallow.

  82. SummerLover -  June 20, 2011 - 6:33 pm

    celebrating birthday!

  83. Robin Goodfellow -  June 20, 2011 - 5:11 pm

    Wait a moment, I thought Newton and a colleague of his, or some other semi – modern Scientist/Inventor/Researcher pair had published the Encyclopedia of Natural History. I didn’t think Pliny the Elder had anything to do with it. Please correct me if I’m wrong, and while you are at it could tell me what encyclopedia I’m thinking of?


  84. Jordane -  June 20, 2011 - 4:35 pm

    It does say Pliny, and I’ll probably be sleeping in anyway.

  85. poop -  June 20, 2011 - 4:11 pm

    hi :)

  86. kathy -  June 20, 2011 - 4:01 pm

    when is it, why does it not change from year to year?

  87. Jared Davis -  June 20, 2011 - 3:57 pm

    I’ll be drinking mass amounts of summer seasonal brews to celebrate my summer solstice.

  88. Marie Novak -  June 20, 2011 - 3:55 pm

    I will be walking a seven circuit labyrinth and contemplating that every ending is a beginning.

  89. Tommie -  June 20, 2011 - 3:10 pm

    Who decided that the solstice should be considered the first day of summer?

  90. Kristen -  June 20, 2011 - 3:04 pm

    My beautiful daughter turns 9 on the solstice. She is my own little Puck–and yes, I know that Puck is a dude in Shakespear’s play. But boy is she full of mischief!

  91. Emma -  June 20, 2011 - 2:54 pm

    doing exams :P

  92. Tony Ferracane -  June 20, 2011 - 2:41 pm

    Most of the places I’ve lived in in the U.S. seemed to have been the warmest from mid May until mid August. Makes sense to me that the summer solstice would be mid-summer. Think about it. From mid May until mid August would be the longest stretch (about 3 months, the time of a normal season) of time the sun will be highest in the sky. Just MHO.

  93. Kriss -  June 20, 2011 - 2:29 pm

    It says “Pliny”…

  94. C_H_A_O -  June 20, 2011 - 2:23 pm

    Are you cross-eyed,blind or something?

  95. C_H_A_O -  June 20, 2011 - 2:21 pm

    What I like about summer is that it rains.

  96. Mary -  June 20, 2011 - 1:48 pm


    It is spelt “Pliny” in the article. Clearly it is you who cannot read.

  97. 10over6 -  June 20, 2011 - 1:45 pm

    I don’t get it, they didn’t answer the question??

  98. Jamie -  June 20, 2011 - 1:29 pm

    “Sol”, not “so” and “Pliny”, not “Piny”. Is anyone proofreading or editing this stuff? I plan on celebrating the solstice continuing to be an insufferable know-it-all.

  99. Heidi -  June 20, 2011 - 1:24 pm

    I will be celebrating with the traditional fire and vigil.

  100. jack -  June 20, 2011 - 1:08 pm

    It’s Pliny the Elder, you silly goose.

  101. Book Beater -  June 20, 2011 - 1:03 pm

    @ Persephone
    It’s all your fault anyway…sigh right back at you.

  102. Carole -  June 20, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    That’s PLINY the Elder, not Piny. If you are going to reference ancient Roman philosophers in a column about words, you have to spell the name correctly!

  103. Parsely -  June 20, 2011 - 12:21 pm

    I’ll be Blogging ♥ Summer soltice has sparked some of my favorite topics over the years. It is nice mix of science and myth.

  104. lezza -  June 20, 2011 - 10:41 am

    I’m just excited to wake up with the sun shining.

  105. Persephone -  June 20, 2011 - 10:27 am

    This has always driven my tiny literal mind nuts. Surely “midsummer” is the middle of summer, so shouldn’t a true midsummer day be St Swithin’s Day on July 15th, instead of the first day of summer? Sigh….

  106. AP -  June 20, 2011 - 10:10 am

    Possibly a walk on the beach after work, and some time lingering at the pier.


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