It's officially the first day of summer in Canada, and according to astrologers, the solstice is a very special event!
If you're looking for little ways to honour the day or just learn more about the cosmic event, Narcity spoke with astrologer Nadiya Shah about what the summer solstice is, how it's celebrated and what exactly it might mean for your life.
What is the summer solstice?
In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice is the day with the most minutes of sunlight, according to NASA.
According to Time and Date, at this time of the year, the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun. As well, "the North Pole's tilt toward the Sun is greatest at the solstice, so this event marks the longest day of the year north of the equator."
Shah broke the cosmic event down for us in terms of what it means for astrology.
"The summer solstice refers to a solar phenomenon, and the sun is very powerfully symbolic in mythology and astrology, of rationality, of insight, and even of prophecy," said Shah.
She noted that on this day, people are at the height of their ability to connect with the sun's power.
"It's a symbol of knowing ourselves, knowing our power personally, but collectively as well," she continued. "And so you can imagine what happens on the day when there is the most sunlight that there's ever going to be the whole year. That's what the solstice represents."
When is the summer solstice?
For 2023, the summer solstice takes place on June 21.
Shah says that the solstice is usually celebrated on the 21 of June, but there are exceptions.
According to Time and Date, it can take place anytime between June 20 to June 22, with the latter date being particularly rare. They say the last June 22 solstice took place in 1975 and the next one will be all the way in 2203.
"It's even been at times on the 19th depending on if it's a leap year and things like that, but as a general principle, it's the 21st that is always celebrated as the summer solstice day," Shah said.
How do people celebrate the summer solstice?
Nadiya Shah's picture of Stonehenge at the summer solstice.
Shah says the most common way she's seen people celebrate the summer solstice is by watching the sunrise.
"I was born and raised here in Toronto, and I know for many, many years — and it continues to this day — people go out to The Beaches, the Toronto Beaches, and they watch the sun come up," she explained.
The astrologer said that gatherings happen in more places than you may realize and noted that Vancouver has a core group that loves watching the sunrise on the solstice.
On a personal level, Shah says that one year she had the opportunity to celebrate the day at Stonehenge in the U.K., calling it a "bucket list" event.
"Yeah, it's a big party," she shared. "I mean, it is massive. It is fun. It is eccentric. As an astrologer, I fit right in.
"When you're there, you really can feel how like — because this is an ancient site, it goes back thousands of years, and you can really understand how special this moment was when the sun was at the height of its power," she said of the event.
In terms of little things you can do to celebrate, Shah recommends possibly getting a sunflower or a red semi-precious stone.
"Getting something with gold, getting something with a garnet, maybe wearing that or having it on your workstation for that day," she said of practices you can incorporate.
"These can be ways in which you strive to be conscious of the fact that something special is happening and you are becoming more aware of all these things that are now being illuminated that you can be really grateful for," the astrologer explained.
How will the summer equinox affect the different Zodiac signs?
In terms of how the summer solstice will affect you, Shah gave Narcity some keywords for each sign about what area of life is most likely to feel illuminated, you might feel more grateful for or see in a different way.
- Aries: home and family
- Taurus: siblings, cousins, neighbours
- Gemini: money you earn and spend, self-love
- Cancer: identity and priorities
- Leo: fortunate closures and enthusiasm for living
- Virgo: friends and group connections
- Libra: career and life purpose
- Scorpio: travel and higher education
- Sagittarius: transformation, wealth, and loans
- Capricorn: partnership, professional and romantic
- Aquarius: clients, coworkers, health
- Pisces: romance, fun, children
What is the difference between the equinox and the solstice?
According to NASA, there are two solstices in a year and two equinoxes.
The equinoxes, which are on September 21 and March 21, represent the first day of autumn and the first day of spring.
"When the equinoxes happen, the sunshine, the sunlight is equal to the dark," she explained.
The solstices, which are on June 21 and December 21, represent the first day of summer and the first day of winter.
"When we have the summer solstice, those are what we call the longest days, the days with the most light, most sunlight," she said.
For the winter solstice, it is the day with the least amount of light in the northern hemisphere.
When will the sun set in Canada?
Given that June 21 has more sunlight than any other day of the year, the sun will be setting quite late around major Canadian cities.
Here's when the sun will set across the country in each region's local time, according to Time And Date:
- Vancouver — 9:21 p.m.
- Edmonton — 10:07 p.m.
- Regina — 9:13 p.m.
- Winnipeg — 9:40 p.m.
- Toronto — 9:02 p.m.
- Montreal — 8:46 p.m.
- Moncton — 9:14 p.m.
- Halifax — 9:03 p.m.
- Charlottetown — 9:07 p.m.
- St. John's — 9:02 p.m.
- Iqaluit — 11:00 p.m
- Yellowknife — 11:39 p.m.
- Whitehorse — 11:36 p.m.
Enjoy that extra sunshine, folks; after all, the winter solstice is just six months away!
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.