Summer officially begins at 6:34 PM ET gracing us in the Northern Hemisphere with over 15 hours of daylight, the longest day of the year. This solstice is accompanied by a special event, a full moon, the first time since 1948 according the Farmer’s Almanac, but the could be wrong about that According to Bruce McClure at Earth-Sky, the last full moon on Summer Solstice was in 1967.
Watch for a full-looking moon on the eve of the June solstice (June 19, 2016) and a full moon on the solstice itself (June 20). From what we’ve been able to gather (sources below), this is the first full moon to fall on the June solstice since the year 1967, which some recall as the year of the Summer of Love, a social phenomenon centered on San Francisco, London and other places around the globe. There’ve been a number of near misses of full moons on June solstices, however. And we are indeed talking about the June solstice, not solstices in general. In fact, there was a full moon eclipse on the December solstice in 2010.
The June full moon is called the strawberry moon by Native Americans and the Rose Moon by Europeans because it coincides with the strawberry harvest and roses blooming.
The Summer Solstice has has links to many ancient cultural practices as different cultures have celebrated it being symbolic of renewal, fertility and harvest. At Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, where the rising sun and the ancient stones align on the Solstices, hundreds od Pagans and non-Pagans will gather to celebrate at dawn. Another ritual is a fire ritual to celebrate the occasion. People with unlit candles forming a circle around a large central candle and lighting theirs off it one at a time.
In Sweden, it’s traditional to eat your way through the entire day. Feasts typically involve lots of potatoes and herring.
The next time the two events will coincide will be June 21, 2062. I’ll be 114 years old. Hopefully, I’ll make it. Meanwhile tonight, the skies are clear and the air is getting warmer with cool breezes from the ocean, here on the east coast. The moon rises at 8:32 PM ET. I’ll be marking the moment the Earth tilts towards the sun at its Northern maximum, the Tropic of Cancer with a fire in the pit, dinner with some of the newly harvested vegetable ans seasoned with fresh herbs from my garden, a glass of wine and some strawberries.