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First Day of Summer In Montana

SALISBURY, ENGLAND – JUNE 21: Solstice revellers celebrate the arrival of the midsummer sunrise at the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2012 near Salisbury, England. The solstice sunrise marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

After a low temperature of 37 overnight and a predicted high of 66 today it hardly seems like the first day of summer. But that’s the beauty of weather in Montana. Starting my 21st year as a Bozeman resident I’ve seen snow every month of the year. I’ve seen hurricane force winds and some really low temperatures that make you scratch your head.

So I am really looking forward to see what Mother Nature plans to dish out to us this year. While we wait, here are some things about the first day of summer you might have missed.

Summer Trivia

The North American summer solstice began Thursday night at 11:04 PM Mountain Time. The word “solstice” is from a combination of Latin words, “Sol” meaning sun, and “Stice” meaning “to stand still.” During this time of year the sun moves more to the middle of the sky and seems to stand still.

Theoretically, on this date, we get the most daylight and the least amount of darkness of any other day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere the longest day of sunlight is around December 21st that is our shortest day of sunlight during the year. Here are a few other tidbits about the Summer Solstice:

  • Summer Solstice is celebrated around the world. Thousands gather at Stonehenge and Avebury to welcome the sunrise.
  • Ancient Pagan couples would leap through flames to celebrate the solstice believing their crops would grow as high as they could jump.
  • Today’s herbalists often recommend “chase-devil,” better known as the mood stabilizer St. John’s Wort that Pagan’s often wore to ward off evil spirits.
  • June weddings have a long history that started with the Druids who celebrated the “wedding of Heaven and Earth” during the Summer Solstice. Believing that a marriage in June was destined to be a “lucky” one.

Some Final Thoughts

For many of us who moved here from more temperate climates we are very selfish with our summer time. We attempt to pack as much fun and outdoor activities into our days as possible. No question that we also are very active in the winter as well, but the numbers of Montanan’s that enjoy the great outdoors during our somewhat short summer are more numerous.

So enjoy a 67-degree high. It’s preferable to a 67 -degree low. We don’t have to shovel rain. No windshield scrapping. And there is lots of daylight after work. Why am I complaining? It’s the Last Best Place on Earth.

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