Summer Solstice 2017: What is it and how can you celebrate in Norfolk?

Sunset on summer solstice at Hunstanton. Photo: Anita Clarke

Sunset on summer solstice at Hunstanton. Photo: Anita Clarke - Credit: Archant

It's official, summer is here!

June 21 marks the Summer Solstice, with the sun rising at 4.30am and due to set at 9.22pm.

What is the Summer Solstice?

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and is also considered to be the first day of summer.

It occurs when the northern hemisphere of the Earth is most inclined towards the sun.

Various events are held to commemorate the occasion across cultures including holidays, festivals and rituals with themes of religion and fertility.

The word solstice is derived from the Latin for sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

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Summer Solstice traditions

Every year hundreds of people head to Stonehenge in Wiltshire on the eve of the solstice to celebrate and watch the sunrise.

Pagans believe the solstice, also known as midsummer and Litha, holds a special power.

The eve of the summer solstice was thought to be a time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.

Methods of celebrating Litha include bonfires, meditating, yoga, prayers and dancing.

How can you celebrate in Norfolk?

Various events are taking place across the county, including a free solar scope evening in the Hunstanton Heritage Gardens. This will run from 8-10pm on June 21 thanks to King's Lynn and District Astronomy Society who will bring telescopes for a unique opportunity to observe the sun on the longest day of the year.

Also taking place is a Summer Solstice Cheese and Wine Evening at the Wind Energy Museum in Repps with Bastwick from 7pm until dark.

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