When is Summer Solstice 2024? Know date, origin and why is it the longest day of the year

Jun 21, 2024

The Northern Hemisphere experiences its longest day of the year during the Summer Solstice, also known as the June Solstice, typically occurring on either June 20 or June 21. This astronomical event heralds the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

What is Summer Solstice?

Summer Solstice, occurring around June 20 or 21, marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It signifies the moment when Earth's axial tilt leans closest to the Sun, resulting in the Sun reaching its highest position in the sky. This phenomenon brings about the official onset of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Celebrated across cultures for its astronomical significance, the Summer Solstice is a time of festivals, traditions, and rituals that honour the Sun's abundance and the seasonal transition it heralds.

Summer Solstice 2024: Date and timings

In the Northern Hemisphere, June 21 is traditionally recognised as the summer solstice each year. According to NASA, the global occurrence of the summer solstice in 2024 will be on June 20 at 4:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). In India, this astronomical event will be observed on June 21, 2024, at 8:09 PM Indian Standard Time (IST).

Summer Solstice 2024: Origin and astronomical significance

From the Latin words "sol" (sun) and "sistere" (to stand still), the word "solstice" was born. It refers to the phenomenon when the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky as seen from the North Pole. During the Summer Solstice, the Sun appears to stand still in its northernmost position before reversing its direction. Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere officially begin on this day.

From an astronomical perspective, the Summer Solstice occurs because of the tilt of the Earth's rotational axis relative to its orbit around the Sun. The tilt of the Earth results in different regions receiving differing quantities of sunlight year-round, which causes the seasons to change..

Summer Solstice 2024: Why it's the ’Longest Day of the Year’

The Summer Solstice is known as the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for the Northern Hemisphere. This phenomenon occurs because during the solstice, the North Pole is tilted directly towards the Sun. As a result, the Sun appears at its highest altitude in the sky, and daylight hours are maximised for locations in the northern latitudes. Conversely, in the Southern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice marks the shortest day of the year, with the South Pole tilted away from the Sun.

Summer Solstice 2024: Celebrations

Many cultures around the world have traditions for celebrating the summer solstice. Some common practices include:

Stonehenge: In England, people gather at Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument, to witness the sunrise on the summer solstice.

Bonfires: Bonfires are lit in many European countries to symbolize the sun's power and ward off evil spirits.
Festivals: Many communities hold festivals with music, dancing, and traditional food to mark the beginning of summer.