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Article: What is the Summer Solstice?

What is the Summer Solstice?

This week we're celebrating the Summer Solstice - the peak of the solar year when the Sun is at the height of its life-giving power. Read on to learn more about this astrological event.

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Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer or Litha is the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Earth is awash with fertility and fulfilment and this is a time of joy and celebration, or expansiveness and the celebration of achievements.

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The Summer Solstice marks the end of spring and start of summer. It will end with the autumn equinox in September. We get the most hours of daylight on this day because of the position of the Earth in relation the Sun.

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Traditionally, people stayed up all night on Midsummer's Eve to welcome and watch the sunrise. Bonfires were lit on tops of hills, by holy wells, at places held sacred to honour the fullness of the Sun. At Litha, the bonfire really represents a reflection of the Sun at the peak of its strength. 

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Summer Solstice is celebrated by thousands of pagans across the world. Many gather at Stonehenge which is believed to have been used as an important religious site by early Britons 4,000 years ago. On the Summer Solstice, the central Altar stone at Stonehenge aligns with the Heel stone, the Slaughter stone and the rising Sun to the north east.