The warmest season of the year, Summer is all about the sunshine. Falling between spring and autumn, summer is marked by long days and short nights. The sun shines directly on the Northern Hemisphere beginning on or about June 21st, which is known as the summer solstice, and ending on approximately September 23, the autumnal equinox.
While different cultures have historically marked the start of summer on different dates depending on astronomy or meteorology, June 21 is now widely accepted as the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, however, June through August are the coldest months of the year -- aka Winter. For Aussies, South Africans and South Americans, the hot season of summer falls in December, January and February.
Beyond the heat, summer is also known as a season of fruition and fulfillment, linked to the agriculture cycle. Crops and trees reach maturity during the summer, with fresh produce in abundance -- provided there is adequate rainfall!
While the summer weather patterns depend largely on geographic location, most states experience at least some sporadic periods of high winds, thunderstorms and hail. In tropical and sub-tropical states, summer is wet season, with cyclones and even monsoons common.
To take advantage of the warmer, longer days, schools and universities have summer vacation. In Australia, the summer break starts just a few weeks before Christmas and ends in early February, while in North America and Europe, the summer break typically runs from late May or early June until mid August or later.
Professional offices often have summer hours, ending their work day at 4 p.m., rather than at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., to allow employees time to enjoy the beautiful summer evenings. Many people like to take advantage of these long nights and warm weekends by enjoying outdoor activities such as picnicking and taking trips to the beach or swimming pool. Outdoor sports like softball, baseball,...