The United Nations(UN)’s International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice is annually celebrated across the globe on 21st June to create awareness about the importance and significance of the solstice in various religions and ethnic cultures across the globe.
The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/73/300 on 20th June 2019 and proclaimed the 21st June of every year as the International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice in its different manifestations
What is Solstice?
i.The word Solstice is derived from the Latin word “Sol” which means ‘sun’ and “Sistere” which means ‘to stand still’.
ii.Solstice is the seasonal movement of the sun’s daily path, seen from earth, appears to be still at a northern or southern limit before reversing direction.
iii.The solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most northerly or southerly day arc relative to the Equator.
iv.The event occurs twice a year, Summer Solstice, around June 21, this marks the first day of summer and the longest day of the year (It usually occurs in the Northern Hemisphere) and Winter Solstice, around December 21, the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year (It usually occurs in the Northern Hemisphere).
i.The word equinox is derived from the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night). This is commonly referred to as the instant when the centre of the visible Sun is directly above the Equator.
ii.This event occurs twice a year, once around 20th March, which is called Spring Equinox, as it marks the beginning of Spring and once around 23rd September which is called Autumn Equinox, as it marks the beginning of Autumn.
iii.During the equinox, the solar terminator is perpendicular to the equator, and hence daytime and nighttime are of approximately equal duration.
Significance of Solstices & Equinox:
i.The solstices, along with the equinoxes, are connected with seasons, harvests and livelihood.
ii.Several cultures across the globe celebrate various combinations of the solstices, the equinoxes, and the midpoints between them.
iii.Solstices and equinoxes symbolise the fertility of the land, agriculture and food production system, cultural heritage and the millenary traditions.