In Ireland, citizens celebrate summer and winter solstice by paying special attention to the sun. The summer solstice is a celebration of the year’s longest day. The winter solstice recognises the shortest day, and the year’s longest night.
These summer and winter celebrations date back to ancient Ireland. Summer solstice is a recognition of winter survival, showing appreciation for the sun which helps farmers to grow crops, providing sustenance during the year. During summer solstice, people of the region also celebrate culture, art, and history.
Newgrange is a prominent, historical landmark in Ireland that is 5,000-years old. Many tourists visit the site, a popular location to celebrate the solstice. It is traditional for communities to come together to light bonfires, but some time restrictions are in place for lighting fires.
Solstice, meaning “sun stand still,” recognises the days of the year that the sun rises to what seems to be the same spot, during a three-day period. During this winter solstice, a beam of sunlight shines over Newgrange, lighting the passageway and chamber for 17 minutes. Some lottery winners see the amazing experience every year.
Partaking of Irish cuisine and listening to traditional music, citizens come together to experience culture and have fun. By recognizing the movement of the sun, the Irish pay tribute to nature that is a part of the ever-changing cycle of life. Summer and Winter solstice celebrations come every year, combining unique, historical traditions and rich Irish culture, reminding residents and tourist about the ancient customs that have endured.
Other countries, including some citizens of the United States, celebrate summer solstice, incorporating cultures and traditions that are compatible with customs of the region. However, Ireland’s Newgrange monument is a testament to how important the tradition of solstice was in ancient Ireland. Citizens pay tribute to the changing seasons, by the rise and fall of the sun.