Difference Between Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 15, 2022, 12:08

The term "solstice" refers to an astronomical event caused by the Earth's tilt on its axis and its orbit around the Sun. Some prefer the term 'sun turn,' which is a more Teutonic way of describing this celestial event. The term solstice comes from 'sōlstitium,' which means 'Sun standing still. The summer and winter solstices are depicted by the Sun's position at the tropics, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice are two significant events in the world of Geography.

Difference between Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice

There are several differences between Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice. Listed below are a few of these differences:

Summer Solstice

Winter Solstice

The year's longest day and shortest night occur on the Summer Solstice.

The year's shortest day and longest night occur on the Winter Solstice.

The Summer Solstice takes place on 21st June every year

The Winter Solstice takes place in December. The dates might slightly vary every year

On this day, the Earth’s tilt is maximised towards the Sun

On this day, the Earth's tilt is away from the Sun to its maximum, and the North Pole is farthest away from the Sun

During the midday hour or the noon, the Sun reaches its peak elevation and remains stationary directly over the Tropic of Cancer, located at 23.5 degrees latitude north.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the Sun remains stationary over the Tropic of Capricorn, reaching its southerly declination of 23.5 degrees.

Significance of Summer Solstice

Since it marks the first day of summer or winter in the other hemisphere, this day is significant in many civilisations and traditions. Many rituals, celebrations, and functions are held to commemorate the occasion. The Summer Solstice was once thought to be in the middle of summer, especially in European countries. It is, however, the start of summer in northern countries. The fact that the summer solstice will fall on the same day as an annular solar eclipse, this year makes it even more remarkable.

Significance of Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice was significant in ancient times because people's livelihoods depended on knowing how the seasons progressed. Starvation is widespread during the first months of winter, from January through April, and is known as 'the famine months.' The last feast celebration before deep winter is the 'midwinter' holiday.

Winter Solstice is known as Tropical Uttarayana in Hindu astrology. However, Sidereal Uttarayana begins on Makara Sankranti, and Devkal starts on this day, a favourable time to begin auspicious labour.

It is important to know the difference between summer solstice and winter solstice. Both of these days have a different significance and are quite important from Geography's perspective. You can expect questions from these concepts in your competitive exams.

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FAQs on Differences between Summer and Winter Solstice

Q.1) On what date does the Summer Solstice happen?

The Summer Solstice occurs on 21st June every year.

Q.2) On what date does the Winter Solstice happen?

The date of Winter Solstice keeps changing. However, it occurs around 23rd December every year.

Q.3) What happens on a Summer Solstice?

On Summer Solstice, the day is the longest, and the night is the shortest of the year.

Q.4) What happens on a Winter Solstice?

You experience the longest night and the shortest day during Winter Solstice.