06/22/2005: Well, it's simply a matter of definition....
Over at Why Now? Bryan makes an offhand observation at the beginning of a more astronomically themed post:
In Britain and Ireland the Summer Solstice is the midpoint of Summer, while the US generally calls it the beginning of Summer. No clear reason for the difference, nor is there any real rule about when seasons start.Personally, I've always wondered why people in the U.S. are fixated on the summer solstice as being "the first day of summer". Operationally, I think that this definition works better: "Summer: In the U.S., the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, inclusive."
Think about it. That's when we do our traditional summer activities, such as school recesses and summer sessions), vacations, swimming, picnics, outdoor recreation, etc. And the three summer holidays line up very nicely. Memorial Day is the first day of summer. Independence Day (in the U.S.) represents the midsummer holiday, and Labor Day is the end of summer holiday.
It's all arbitrary, but I think my definition hews better to how we actually behave as a nation.
Len on 06.22.05 @ 08:00 AM CST