Three Whys (and One What) of Summer

“Here comes the sun. Do-do-do-do.” – The Beatles

For many students, school is almost out for the summer season. Then come three months of sleeping in, camping out or learning to do the Lindy hop. (Okay, maybe that last one is just me – and I use the word ‘learn’ with super flexibility).

As you enter the hot expanse of barbecues, vacations and fireworks, here a couple of cool things to know:

Why You Get Summer Break

A lot of people think summer break started forever ago so farming kids could help with the family business. Interesting theory, but it was actually vacationing families that started the tradition sometime after the Civil War. As cities got packed with more buildings and people, and therefore hotter, more Americans started escaping to cooler climates for the hottest months. With classrooms being half empty anyway, lawmakers decided to make summer break official.

Why The Days Are Longer

While it may seem much earlier, the first official day of summer in the northern hemisphere is in June and in the southern hemisphere in December – usually between the 20th-22nd. That day is known as the Summer Solstice, which is when one of the Earth’s poles has maximum tilt toward the sun. It’s also the longest day of the year.

This year, the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere falls on June 21. People all over the world celebrate with feasts, bonfires, picnics, dancing, singing and more. Personally, I’m aiming for something to do with swimming, air conditioning, ice cream or all of them (but probably not at the same time).

Why Does It Feel Like 1,000 Degrees In August

The hottest day of the summer isn’t on the longest day of the year. That seems weird, right?

It takes a while for the atmosphere to warm up – after the sun’s been out and doing its business for a long time. The earth and water take time to absorb all that heat, so that by late summer, it’s had plenty of time to store up like a giant sponge.

What Does Summer Mean To You

Summer means something different to everyone. Whether you’re looking forward to science camps, reading challenges, vacations, family get-togethers, baseball games, hammock naps or extended time with your pet platypus, have fun with it. I’d tell you to stay safe, but my telling you probably wasn’t going to change whatever you’d already decided. (But my inner parent can’t resist, so seriously – don’t blow off any fingers with fireworks or grill yourself extra crispy under the sun).

What does summer mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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