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The Summer Solstice Is Upon Us...

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Here in Los Angeles, we're not used to feeling the change of seasons like some other parts of the country are, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't celebrate them! Today is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.

What exactly does that mean? A solstice occurs twice a year, whenever Earth's axis tilts the most toward or away from the Sun, causing the Sun to be farthest north or south at noon. The Sun is essentially at a stands still for the briefest moment. The solstice, for some, marks the midsummer point, but for us Midsummer's Day is Sunday (6/24), another excuse to get together, howl at the moon and slaughter some goats.

How fitting then that Merriam Webster's Word of the Day is estival:
: of or relating to the summer

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Example sentence:
On summer evenings, Carl would sit for hours on the porch enjoying the warmth of the estival breezes.

Where did this come from? Directly from their email:
"Estival" and "festival" look so much alike that you might think they're very closely related, but that isn't the case. "Estival" traces back to "aestas," which is the Latin word for "summer" (and which also gave us "estivate," a verb for spending the summer in a torpid state — a sort of hot-weather equivalent of hibernation). "Festival" also comes from Latin, but it has a different and unrelated root. It derives from "festivus," a term that means "festive" or "merry." "Festivus" is also the ancestor of "festive" and "festivity" as well as the much rarer "festivous" (which also means "festive") and "infestive," meaning "not merry, mirthless."

So take a moment to step outside and celebrate the sun today!

Flickr picture courtesy of Scott Schumacher