The solstice is the natural moment when the earth makes one circle around the sun that lasts for a year. During the year there are two solstices, summer and winter. Summer marks the first day of summer and winter the first day of winter. As there are two equinoxes: autumn (first day of autumn) and spring (first day of spring).
These days are natural phenomena that we can clearly see wherever they were at that moment on this globe. That is why all nations and all ancient cultures celebrated those days.
For the summer solstice, the day is the longest and the night the shortest, but this only applies to the northern hemisphere of the Earth, while in the southern hemisphere it is the other way around. In our country, the solstice is also called the solstice, because on that day the sun seems to stop and after three days it starts moving in the opposite direction.
For the inhabitants of the northern hemisphere, the days are longer during the summer solstice, and the mood is cheerful and optimistic. The sun and light make Norwegians especially happy because during the winter solstice there are polar nights that last for 20 hours, and in some places the day does not exist for five months. On the other hand, during the summer solstice, better known as the Midnattsol or midnight sun, the day lasts almost 20 hours, and the nights, which are actually very bright and reminiscent of twilight, last a little less than 4 hours. In Russia, popular white nights last during the summer solstice. Then from mid-May to the end of July the sky becomes darker only after midnight, and the night looks like twilight turning into dawn.
How is the summer solstice celebrated in our country?
The summer solstice in Croatian folklore is the most important summer festival. In Croatia, the customs for the summer solstice are associated with the feast of St. John, or St. John, but their historical roots are much older than the Catholic holidays. The main feature of Ivan is the large bonfires that are still lit in various parts of Croatia: in Zagreb, Požega, Karlovac, Đakovo, then Podravina, Dalmatia and elsewhere. Bonfires were lit to ward off evil forces and spirits, and church bells often rang all night. The fire symbolizes the sun, the arrival of summer, new life and security. Customs include jumping over a fire, decorating houses with flowers and singing folk songs accompanied by traditional instruments. It is also associated with harvest customs and the beginning of summer. Midsummer bonfires are lit on the banks or along rivers, accompanied by the singing of traditional songs. Midsummer Night or the night of the summer solstice was considered a mystical night, with which some special powers are still associated today. It is believed that prolonged sunlight has a special effect on plant growth, so the collection of medicinal plants is an integral part of the ritual of Midsummer Night because the people believed that just then it has a strong effect and special powers.
The celebration of the summer solstice is especially popular with astronomy enthusiasts who gather to see off the sun's rays in the evening and welcome the first ones in the morning with the rhythms of drums. You can experience such observation of the stars accompanied by an all-night music and stage program in the famous observatory in Višnjan.
If you want to observe this phenomenon, it is enough to watch the sunset from the lookout and you will see how every day after the summer solstice the sun moves a little to the left.