Summertime in the City!
Yesterday, June 21st, is known as the Summer Solstice otherwise known as “the longest day of the year”. This officially marks the beginning of summer. Now, I do not think that the beginning of summer was able to sneak up on any of us, with temperatures last week with highs of 99 degrees essentially every day. But, we’re here, and the sun didn’t go down till what felt like midnight last night.
The holiday of Summer Solstice has been around for thousands of years. Civilizations like the ancient Mesopotamians, Celtic Druids, and Egyptians all celebrated this day in wild manners. Let’s get into some of the history of this ancient holiday:
- The technical description of the Summer Solstice is when the sun is at its furthest point away from the equator
- The oldest known celebration of the summer solstice was in Ancient Egypt.The Egyptians arranged their most famous monuments, the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, to display the sun set during the solstice
- The Egyptians worshiped the Summer Solstice, because it signified the annual flooding of the Nile, which was significant to their food supply
- The Mayans also were known to arrange their architecture around the solstice sunset for similar reasons to the Egyptians
- Ancient Romans celebrated the beginning of the summer with a festival in honor of their goddess, Vesta, goddess of the hearth. Women would enter temples named after Vesta and leave different offerings in hopes of good fortune
- Ancient Greece used the summer solstice to mark a new year and would hold a festival in honor of their god of agriculture, Cronus
- Some rituals for the Summer Solstice were even observed by Native American tribes. The Sioux would celebrate with a sun dance every year in front of an arrangement of stones, forming a medicine wheel, that is in line with the rising sun on the day of the Summer Solstice. This wheel is still up today in Lovell, Wyoming
The Summer Solstice has been celebrated for years and years in ancient civilizations, but here in America, we do not spend as much time on the holiday. That does not change the fact that we can’t use the beginning of summer to better ourselves and everyday lives. Here are a few ways to utilize that start of the sunny season to bring us joy.
More Time Outside
Did you know: being outside in the sun can help improve your sleep, reduce stress, keep weight off, improve your immune system, fight depression, and even give you a longer life? That is just a short list of positives that being outside this season can bring to you. Do not be afraid of heading to Centennial Park or even just getting some sun out on your porch, it can help you tremendously.
Start a Good Book
Ah, yes. The lost art of reading a good book. Growing up my mom was an avid reader, I never could understand having fun diving into that activity. As I got older, and deeper into the internet and social media, I have found myself looking for a way to escape that reality. Books are the perfect way to do that. The most important trait I think people can gain from reading books today is that of concentration and ability to focus. In today’s world, with TikTok obviously being this juggernaut of an app, people’s attention spans are incredibly low. If you can sit down and read a book for a portion of the day, everyday, your brain will naturally start to fight that concentration decay.
While all the other ways to utilize this summer dealt more with your mental health, this one will deal with improving your physical health. Summer time is the perfect time to get yourself to the shape you would like to be in. While yes, there are some awesome gyms, with great equipment, there is nothing quite like going outside to workout. Studies have shown that it is much better for your blood pressure and stress levels to exercise outside, as opposed to inside because you have a much better view and it feels much more natural. When you strip away all of the outside factors affecting your exercise, you will be able to push yourself to maximum performance and get the most out of your work out.
While the Summer Solstice is not as big of a deal today as it was in the past, I hope you all enjoyed your long day of sunlight and utilize this amazing season to your advantage these next couple of months.
From all of us at Eat Well Nashville, Happy Summer!