Summer Solstice: June 21 is the longest day of the year

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The summer solstice occurs in Romania on June 21, 2021, at 06:32. It is the time when the astronomical summer begins and June 21 is considered to be the longest day of the year.

According to the information on the website of the “Vasile Urseanu” Astronomical Observatory, around June 21, the astronomical longitude of the Sun is 90 °. It is the time of the summer solstice, which marks the beginning of astronomical summer.

The solstice represents the two times of the year when the Sun is at its lowest and highest height, respectively, above the Equator. The summer (respectively winter) solstice does not occur every year on the same date and at the same time. In leap years the summer solstice can happen on June 20. This year, the summer solstice coincides with the day after Pentecost in Romania.

As always, Google marks the moment with an interactive “doodle” dedicated to this special day that marks the summer of 2021.

In Romania, the summer solstice has been related to several customs in the local rural traditions. Mainly, it used to be related to the harvest time, while heralding celebrations for the Midsummer Day, known in the Romanian popular name of Sanziene or Dragaica, marked on June 24.

Romanian ancestors used to light the fires for the Midsummer Day on June 21, making paths on the hills near lakes to chase away diseases and troubles. People used to purify animals in the fire, carry lit torches in the fields to remove pests. Moreover, this a good time of the year to start the wedding season.

Midsummer Day (Sanzienele) on June 24 is a pagan tradition that celebrates the sun, nature and fertility.

The Midsummer Day originates in an ancient solar cult during Dacians kingdom. The Roman name, ‘Sanziana’, coming from ‘Sancta Diana’ is still used in Transylvania and the Slavonic one, ‘Dragaica’, is still used in Muntenia and Oltenia.

The legend has it that Sanzienele are beautiful fairies who live in forests or in the fields. They start a round dance called ‘hora’ and give special power to flowers and weeds, turning them into miraculous medicinal plants, good for healing all diseases.

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