Number one for English language teachers

Webquest: The summer solstice

Level: Pre-intermediate, Intermediate

Learn all about the summer solstice and how it is celebrated throughout the world in our seasonal-themed webquest.

Summer solstice banner

Activity 1: Solstice science

Read the article below.

What are the solstices?

In the northern hemisphere, 21 June is the longest day of the year. It is called the summer solstice and marks the beginning of summer. 21 June is the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere – there, it is the winter solstice and marks the beginning of winter. Since humans first began noticing the changes of the seasons and the movement of celestial objects, the solstices have been celebrated in many ways.

Answer the questions. You will find the answers both in the article above and at the weblink below.

resources.woodlands.kent.sch.uk/time/seasons.htm

  1. What are the two reasons why we have seasons?
  2. What is the summer solstice?
  3. What is the winter solstice?
  4. What are the equinoxes?
  5. What and when is the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere?
  6. What and when is the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere?

Activity 2: Summer solstice celebrations

Either working individually or in groups, choose one of the topics below. Visit the link and find the answers to the questions. Then prepare a short presentation about the topic and share it with your classmates. Use the answers to the questions as guides when preparing the report.

A. Significance of the summer solstice

www.religioustolerance.org/summer-solstice-1.htm

(Read the section ‘Significance of the summer solstice’.)

  1. Why was summer a joyous time in prehistoric times?
  2. What is another name for the first full moon of June? Why?
  3. Why wasn’t May a popular month for weddings?
  4. Where does the term ‘honeymoon’ come from?

B. Midsummer celebrations in ancient times

www.religioustolerance.org/summer-solstice-1.htm

(Read the section ‘Midsummer celebrations in ancient and modern times’ about halfway down the page.)

Complete this chart to help you summarize the ideas in this section. Tip: not all questions here have an answer.

SocietyName of celebration?What or who did it celebrate?How was it celebrated?

Ancient China

 

   

Ancient Gaul

 

   

Ancient Rome

 

   

Ancient Sweden

 

   

Essenes (a Jewish group)

 

   

Christian countries

   

 

C. Modern Pagan celebrations

www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/holydays/summersolstice.shtml

  1. What does Litha mean?
  2. According to the Pagans, what happens at Midsummer?
  3. Besides celebrating growth, what else do the Pagans celebrate in this holiday?
  4. Where do Pagans celebrate the solstice in England?

D. Celebrations at Stonehenge

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-36579438

  1. What is Stonehenge, and how old is it?
  2. How many people celebrated at Stonehenge in 2016?
  3. Was the number of people smaller or larger than expected?
  4. Why did some people not visit Stonehenge in 2016?
  5. What happened for the first time in 2016?

E. Celebrations in Denmark

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsummer#Denmark

  1. What is the midsummer celebration called?
  2. When does it take place?
  3. What’s the connection with bonfires?
  4. What’s the connection with witches?

F. Celebrations in Germany

www.bellaonline.com/articles/art172089.asp

  1. With what do some Germans celebrate the summer solstice?
  2. Describe customs related to:
    • a. lovers;
    • b. healing;
    • c. mountain fires in Bavaria.

G. Celebrations in California

solsticeparade.com/home/about

  1. What is the theme of the parade in 2017?
  2. How many spectators are expected?
  3. Why did the festival move from the sunken gardens?
  4. What happens for kids at the Alameda Park Festival?
  5. What is the annual competition, and why does it happen?

Rate this resource (5 average user rating)

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

You must be signed in to rate.

  • Share

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Powered by Webstructure.NET

Access denied popup