Will summer solstice feel like summer in Seattle this year?
Jun 15, 2023, 7:54 AM | Updated: 9:53 am
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren,File)
The summer solstice this year is Wednesday, June 21, at 7:57 a.m., marking the longest day of the year in Seattle at 15 hours, 59 minutes of sunshine. Sunrise will be at 5:11 a.m. and sunset at 9:10 p.m.
The summer solstice is also the beginning of astronomical summer, or more commonly called, the start of the summer. After June 21, the days will gradually get shorter, heading to the autumn equinox in late September.
Throughout human history, many have observed the summer solstice with celebrations and rituals. For instance, ancient Greeks marked the solstice as the start of the New Year and started the one-month countdown to the opening of the Olympic Games.
Ancient European pagans welcomed the solstice with bonfires amid hopes of a good fall harvest. Bonfires were also associated with magic, banishing evil spirits and leading maidens to future husbands.
Stonehenge in the south of England is aligned with the direction of sunrise on the summer solstice – one of many theories about the purpose of this megalith monument where thousands gather each year to commemorate the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
Many Native Americans participated in solstice rituals still practiced today. For example, The Sioux perform a ceremonial sun dance while wearing symbolic colors.
Today, many still celebrate the summer solstice. Parades and festivals are the most common. In Northern Europe, bonfires are lit, and homes are decorated with garlands. In parts of Scandinavia, people dance around Maypoles.
Seattle has one of the more free-spirited summer solstice parades in the country. The parade is actually this Saturday starting at 2 p.m. More than 60 community-based ensembles are expected to be part of the parade from 3rd Avenue and Leary Way to Woodland Park Avenue N. In addition to the parade, two music stages of live local bands will be in Fremont, along with many booths with handmade goods, art, fair food, and more.
Unfortunately, the weather expected for Saturday’s Solstice Parade will find summer sunshine missing. Generally, cloudy skies will prevail along with the risk of a shower, mainly in the morning, and high temperatures only reaching into the 60s.
Yet on June 21, all can celebrate the start of summer with the summer weather outlook offering a good chance of warmer and drier conditions into September – something many can also celebrate following a cool, damp weekend ahead of the solstice.