Summer Solstice: 4 Myths About the Sun's Ascension


Myth No. 3: Behold the 'Egg-quinox': You Can Balance Eggs Upright on a Table

You might not have heard this one: Some people believe that you're more likely to balance eggs upright on a flat surface during the spring equinox when the Earth's axis does not point toward or away from the sun.

But balancing an egg isn't any more likely during the equinox, or the summer solstice, for that matter. It is a misconception that the Earth's axis is somehow shifting in response to the changing seasons.

In reality, Ciupik says, you can easily balance eggs upright on a table any day of the year.

Here's how: take a dozen eggs and shake each one until the yolks break up a bit inside the shell so that it can move more freely. Next, put the egg back in the carton to settle the yolk further down. When you try placing the egg on a flat surface it will stand upright because it has become more weighted at the bottom.

"It's such a cool thing to do because nobody believes it," Ciupik said.

Myth No. 4: Druids Celebrate Summer Solstice Because They Are Worshipping the Sun

John Matthews, a historian who wrote the book "Summer Solstice: Celebrating the Journey of the Sun From May Day to Harvest," says people often assume modern-day Druids are sun-worshippers, but "that's not quite true."

"We're celebrating the very necessity of having that light to keep things going," he said.

Matthews, who lives in Oxford, England, has been honoring the solstices for nearly 30 years and has been a Druid for just as long. He observed the summer solstice this year with a small group of friends Monday night.

In the past, however, he would go to Stonehenge and watch the sun rise. Even three decades later, he says, there's still a sense of wonder when the sun arrives.

"There's always an audible gasp when that happens," he said. "Even when we understand the science of it all; there's a tiny atavistic part of us that isn't quite sure it's going to come up."

The Druids are misunderstood for another reason, he says, because most people assume they are Celtic.

In reality, he said, "They originated before the Celtic people came to Britain."

At that time, he said, Druids believed in the sanctity of the sun and worshipped the sun.

But today, for Matthews, the solstices are about appreciating the Earth's source of light, food, energy and health.

"The idea of lighting a fire on midsummer and also midwinter is to welcome in the sun and remind the sun that we're here," he said.

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