The Holidays of Summer
SUMMER! It’s the season of vacations, swimming pools, cookouts, and picnics. And as Nat King Cole immortalized in song, “…those days of soda and pretzels and beer!” For those who live north of latitude 30 or so it is usually a most welcome time of year, coming in the wake of winter’s chill.
- Memorial Day – It is a federal holiday in dedication to all those who served and died and for families to remember lost loved ones. It also marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season.
- Father’s Day – It’s not a federal holiday, but it’s always on a weekend and it’s in the summer!
- Independence Day – It’s the grand-daddy of summer holidays, complete with fireworks, picnics, and revelry of all kinds.
- Labor Day – It’s a day to celebrate the working people, and it marks the unofficial end of the summer vacation season.
The Start of Summer
When does summer begin? Well, that depends on whom you ask. Ask an astronomer and he’ll tell you it begins on or around June 21 each year, when the sun is centered over the Tropic of Cancer as seen from Earth. It is known as the summer solstice. Solstice means to “stand still,” and during the time around June 21, the sun appears not to move northward or southward in its annual bob up and down the ecliptic. The Tropic of Cancer is at 23.5 degrees north latitude, which is just south of Key West, Florida. So in late June, residents of southern Florida see the sun almost straight overhead at noon.
Although June 21 is the official, astronomical beginning of summer, most meteorologists consider the summer months to be June, July, and August. So the first day of meteorological summer is June 1. And the traditional, non-official start of the summer season for most people in the U.S. is Memorial Day Weekend, the final weekend in May. This is the time when most public swimming pools in the northern and central parts of the U.S. open. It is the time when schools on a traditional calendar begin their summer breaks.
So if you’re fond of summer, explore this site for some insight into summer’s many features. And remember, as another song insisted, it’s “summertime, when the living is easy.”
- Dog Days of Summer is the period between July 3 and August 11, usually considered to be the hottest time of summer, when the Dog Star, Sirius, is in conjunction with the sun. Read more about Dog Days.
- The first day of summer is the longest day of the year in terms of the amount of daylight.
- The earth is actually farthest away from the sun when it is summer in the northern hemisphere.
- In Australia, New Zealand, and southern South America, summer takes place during December, January, and February.
- The number one grilled food of summer is the hamburger. Steaks are number two and the hot dog is number three.
- Eighty-two percent of households in America own a grill or smoker.
- Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is held every July 4 and has been since 1916. The record for the most hog dogs eaten in 10 minutes is 68, set by Joey Chestnut in 2009.
- There are 14 movies with the title, “Summer.”
- The U.S. city with the highest average summertime temperature is Lake Havasu City, Arizona, with an average temperature in July of 111 degrees F.
Top 15 Classic Hits of Summer
- Summer in the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful (1966)
- Wipe Out – The Surfaris (1962)
- Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini – Bryan Hyland (1960)
- Surf City – Jan & Dean (1963)
- Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly & the Family Stone (1969)
- Surfin’ USA – The Beach Boys (1963)
- Summer Nights – John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John (1978)
- In the Sumertime – Mungo Jerry (1970)
- Under the Boardwalk – The Drifters (1964)
- Summer – War (1976)
- California Girls – The Beach Boys (1965)
- Saturday in the Park – Chicago (1972)
- Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole (1963)
- School’s Out – Alice Cooper (1972)
- Summer Breeze – Seals and Crofs (1972)
Top 10 Summer Blockbuster Movies of All Time
- Spider Man
- Terminator 2
- Independence Day
- Jurassic Park
- Star Wars
- Forrest Gump
Best USA Family Vacation Spots
- Orlando, Florida
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg, VA
- Holiday World – Santa Claus, IN
- Myrtle Beach – South Carolina
- Yellowstone National Park
- Hershey, PA
- Lego Land California – Carlsbad, CA
- Oahu, Hawaii
- New York City