For the first time in nearly seven decades, the summer solstice and full moon are going to fall on the same day. Summer solstice 2016 falls on Monday, June 20 (June 20 is always the first day of summer), and the longest day of the year will also feature the brightest moonlight. Because it hasn’t happened in almost 70 years, this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime summer solstice for many people, reports CNN.
Summer solstice is celebrated by millions around the world, with thousands gathering at the mysterious and legendary Stonehenge in England. While many modern, monotheistic religions believe such celebrations to be pagan or even heathen in nature, they have been taking place every year since before Christ. Earth children the world over will be doubly celebrating on Monday when they ring in the longest day of the year and the strawberry moon in the same 24-hour period.
The June full moon is nicknamed the strawberry moon because it is believed that this time of year is the peak of strawberry-picking season.
This year’s summer solstice/full moon double-feature is even cooler than a once-in-a-lifetime event, because in addition to being both a full moon and the summer solstice, Monday will also be the only night of the month where the moon is in the sky all night long. In June, for the most part the moon is visible during some daylight hours and some night-time hours. On this Monday’s summer solstice/full moon, the sky will remain illuminated by the full moon all night long.
The summer solstice will officially take place when the year’s longest day’s sun reaches its most northern point (the Tropic of Cancer at 23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude). In North America, this happens at 6:34 p.m. EDT.
If you can’t get outside to check out Monday’s summer solstice/full moon, you can watch it streaming live here.
As ABC 7 reports, during the summer solstice full moon event (or “strawberry moon”), the moon won’t actually glow red or pink like a strawberry (as we often see during “blood moon” events), but rather, the moon will actually be “warm amber” in color.
“The sun gets super high so this moon must be super-low. Even at its loftiest at 1 a.m., it’s downright wimpy-low. This forces its light through thicker air, which also tends to be humid this time of year, and the combination typically makes it amber colored.”
Because of this color, the strawberry moon is often referred to as the “honey moon” in cultures around the world.
In North America, the strawberry moon got its name from the native Algonquin tribes. The natives knew the June full moon was the sign from the heavens telling them that fruit and berries were ripe.
The last time a full moon and summer solstice coincided was back in 1948.
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate the summer solstice full moon, World Religion News has some awesome ideas to ring in the summer and give thanks for the longest day of the year.
Wiccans and pagans often refer to the celebration of the summer solstice as Litha, and there are many ways both Wiccans and pagans can celebrate the summer. As mentioned, every year thousands travel to Stonehenge to celebrate the solstice in the footsteps of their pagan ancestors. If you can’t get out of the U.S. to celebrate the summer solstice full moon, you could check out the Wisteria Summer Solstice event in Athens, Ohio, which many call “the most magical” summer solstice celebration.
If you are on the U.S. west coast and need a bit more time to plan your summer solstice festivities, you can check out Litha Faire in Santa Cruz, California. The summer solstice celebration will take place at the end of July, so you’ll have plenty of time to get your stuff together and make it out there. Best of all? The Litha Faire in California is going to be held at the local Quaker Meeting House.
If you’d rather spend the summer solstice full moon closer to home, you can always get together with some friends and dance around your own bonfire.
You really should take the opportunity to check out the summer solstice full moon if you get an opportunity; the next time it will happen will be 2094.
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