solstice /’sol stis/– the 2 times of the year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the earth’s equator
equator /’ee kway dr/– the imaginary (not real) line the divides earth into 2 parts
hemisphere /’hem is feer/– hemi means to divide into two, sphere means a round object like the earth. Hemisphere means one half of the circle. The northern hemisphere means above the equator or (middle) of the earth.
ancient /’ayn shent/– very old
come to pass– happen
June 21st (or 22nd) is the summer solstice for the northern hemisphere*. Solstice in Latin means “sun standing still.” On that day it seems like the sun is standing still because there is more daylight than on any other day. It is the first day of summer and a special day for many groups of people.
Many ancient cultures had ceremonies on solstice. They celebrated light and fire. Many people also thought it was a time for love and growth. Nowadays many places around the world have parades or parties.
The great English writer, William Shakespeare, said** whatever you dream on this night will come to pass. Have great dreams on June 21! And if you are in the northern hemisphere, enjoy the longest day of the year.* Summer solstice is on December 21 (or 22nd) in the southern hemisphere. June 21 (or 22nd) is the southern hemisphere’s Winter solstice.
** in his play A Midsummer’s Night Dream
Check Your UnderstandingTrue or False. Check your answers below.
1. Solstice means that it looks like the sun doesn’t move.
2. Summer solstice is on July 21.
3. Many ancient people celebrated summer solstice with fire.
4. Nowadays no one celebrates solstice.
5. Shakespeare said whatever you dream about on June 21 will happen.
Answers 1-T 2-F 3-T 4-F 5-T