The first day of summer, the summer solstice, irrelevant because you started summer on Memorial Day – whatever you call it, it’s coming up soon! It falls every year on June 21st, which in 2015 happens to be a Sunday. Sounds like a perfect excuse to celebrate with a barbecue, and some fun facts about everyone’s favorite season!
The ancient Romans are responsible for the names of each month on the Gregorian calendar we use to this day: June got its name from Juno, the Roman goddess and wife of Jupiter, while Marc Antony paid tribute to Julius Caesar by naming the month of July after him. Caesar’s adopted nephew, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavius, went one step further and named the month of August after himself and his own title: Augustus, meaning “reverend”.
In North Africa, they celebrate the start of summer a few days after the solstice, on June 24th; this is because it’s midsummer, and the day is the longest of the year.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “the dog days of summer”, but did you know it has its origin in the skies? Sirius, also called the Dog Star, rises in the hottest parts of summer (between the beginning of July and the middle of August) which is of course the hottest time of year. Ancient Romans blamed the constellation for the stickiness, drought, and other uncomfortable aspects of late summer.
The word solstice comes from the Latin solstitium, whose roots mean “sun” and “to stop”. It’s appropriate because to the untrained eye, the sun appears to stop moving in the sky, and the daylight is longer than other times of the year.
The Eiffel Tower actually gains some height during the summer – six whole inches, in fact. This is because the iron that makes her up expands under the increased heat of the sun.
Americans eat, on average, five and a half gallons of ice cream every year, but they eat the majority of it throughout July; ice cream sales spike significantly in the seventh month.
The official end of summer is September 21st – so make the most of your three months, starting now!
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