The History and Significance of Solstice 

The History and Significance of Solstice 

In the summer and winter seasons, humans around the world prepare for solstices. Solstice on earth occurs twice per year and denotes the longest and shortest days of winter and summer, respectively. Throughout history, different practitioners have honored the effects that solstice brings with it, and celebrate the astrological occurrence in different and unique ways. In this article, we discuss the history of the word solstice, as well as common occurrences associated with the solstice. 

What is the history of the word “solstice”?  

The etymology of the word “solstice” is European in nature, however, the practice of observing the solstice is nearly as old as time itself. The solstice has held great significance for astrologers, farmers, practitioners of magic, and humanity as a whole. Our oldest understanding of the word comes from a Latin root word of “solstitium” in the 13th century. The length of the day was conveyed in the term, as it represented the phrase “the sun stood still,” and iterations.  

According to EtymOnline, old Englishers quickly took this phrase and made it their own, using “sunstead” in its place. This was before the common term of “solstice” rose to popularity, and many etymolgists believe that “sunstead” was a colloquialism that indicated that the “sun stood in its stead.”  

What happens during solstice?  

Solstice is a unique time during the year, and is often honored due to its rarity and mystic, historical nature. There are several different occurrences and happenings that are commonly associated with the solstice, which have been reported by countless individuals around the world.  

The solstices both mark important hallmarks in our planet’s weather patterns – such as the earth’s days getting shorter after summer solstice, and longer after winter solstice. Each solstice brings with it a variety of experiences that are tied to humans’ physiological response to the weather shifts.  

What can I expect during summer solstice?  

Summer solstice is the longest day of the year. During summer solstice periods, and periods leading up to the solstice, you can expect to have heightened energy and more capability to be resilient and productive. Many choose to spend these extra daylight hours outside doing fun activities or tasks they wouldn’t otherwise be doing.  

This heightened energy applies to other areas as well, where people claim that they feel more passionate about their love life or more helpful and able to contribute in their platonic relationships. Solstice affects everyone differently, but you may notice similar feelings around this time.  

What can I expect during the winter solstice?  

Winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year – and also the point after which days begin to get longer. During this time, others may feel inclined to stay inside, rest, and recharge. You may feel the need to withdraw simply due to the cold and weather elements in your area, or due to the shortened daylight hours.  

While others may see this as difficult to get through, you can attempt to shift your mentality to embrace the natural changing of the season and to look forward to the brighter days ahead.  

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