Google doodle screwup

Today’s Google doodle at (it is very likely the same at the US Google), gets UK culture quite wrong. It purports to be celebrating the “first day of summer”, but the notion that the solstice is the first day of summer is an American tradition, not shared by most of the rest of the world (except, perhaps, amongst a few people who have completely capitulated to US cultural imperialism). In Britain, and, I expect, most other places, it is midsummer’s day. Cecil himself has pointed out that the widespread American insistence that the solstice is the start rather than the middle of summer has no real scientific justification, and that, contrary to what many Americans believe, even in the USA there is nothing “official” about it, it is just a local tradition. It is not the tradition in Britain or elsewhere.

I was a bit shocked, actually. I thought Google, in particular, was smarter than this. (If virtually any other American company had made the same mistake, I would not have been surprised at all.)

This article might help a bit. It explains that the solstice is really about the appearance of the sun above the horizon and the fact that it reaches its zenith in the northern hemisphere on the solstice. Given how irksome the topic seems to be, I liked this quote:

The reason for why it was chosen as the ahem “official” beginning of summer isn’t stated explicitly, but I think the last two paragraphs probably explain it.

Same doodle in Spain. Here the official start is the solstice, then you have “my side” (who think the equinoxes and solstices should be the mid-days), and then the side which defines summer as “when public pools are open, that is, June 15 to September 15”.

It absolutely drives me bonkers when people call it the first day of summer. It just makes no sense, astronomically or meteorologically, and since my religion considers it a sacred holiday celebrating the day of strongest Sun God energy, it doesn’t make sense religiously, either.

But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen neopagans invite people to “Come celebrate the first day of summer at our Midsummer Solstice Gathering!”

First day…Midsummer. Now it doesn’t even make sense semantically! :smack:

Does anyone really feel like June 15 is still Spring? No, no they don’t. Stop it. Solstice is the *middle *point of summer. Now get outta my drum circle!
(Happy Solstice, everyone!)

I take it you don’t know any Canadians.

Calling it “midsummer” doesn’t make that much sense either, because in most northern climes peak average temperature occurs somewhere around the end of July. The Met Office’s (and other meteorologists’) definition of summer as June, July and August seems closer to the mark.

It’s my impression that “hey, this is something we can print on our calendars!” is pretty much the only reason anyone decided it was the “first day of summer.”

Around here (New Hampshire) it is. Had the woodstove burning last week to ward off the summer? cold and damp.

**Skald **won’t let me associate with riff-raff. :wink:

Can’t speak for “most other places”, but you’re wrong about Britain. Midsummer’s Day is the 24th of June, one of the four “quarter days” along with Michaelmas Day, Christmas Day and Lady Day (which was formerly New Year’s Day), all of which fall just after their associated equinoces or solstices.

Even in the US, there is dissent. The morning news weatherman was saying that meteorologists go with (IIRC) June 1 as the beginning as summer as it’s easier to work with whole months.

Well, OK, I suppose historically there has been some slippage from the solstice, no doubt due to Christmas not being quite on the winter solstice (which would have been just too pagan, I guess). However, if midsummer is the 24th, the 21st certainly isn’t the beginning of summer, and is a lot nearer to being the middle.

If Americans want to say the start of summer is the 21st (as most seem to), I suppose that is their business. I am sure rationalizations can be dreamed up for it. My objection is that the site is trying (presumably out of ignorance) to impose this barbarism on the British, most of whom have probably never even heard of such an idea.

'Round these parts the June solstice has always been called the first day of summer. This year, in particular, it finally is just now beginning to feel like summer.

People in Australia may have a different outlook.

I disagree. Traditionally in Britain June 21 is called the first day of summer, and I’ve always thought it was odd because it’s also “midsummer’s day”.

Meteorologically, though, it runs from June 1 until August 31. (Although in recent years summer has consisted of a warm sunny week in May and another in September or October.)

Of course, in Iceland it’s in April

Anyway, I thought the screw up was going to be that although Google has 6 characters, the doodle only has 5.

Where “e?”

“e” is right there on the right. The “l” is his snorkel.

Ah. Thanks.

And that was supposed to say “Where’s e?” above. It’s Friday. It’s the solstice! And my proof reading sucks as I get older.

I was there for a summer (school of course) and summer consisted of August so I’m not sure what the issue is. :wink: The other months were warm I guess, but when you factor in the rain and damp, does that actually count? IDK. I saw what you all call food, so I know you’re a little more flexible. :smiley:

Yeah, just looking at Chicago’s historical average temps, July 21 would be the smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-summer date, based on temperatures. The equivalent for winter would be Jan 14. For me, summer is roughly the end of May to beginning-to-mid Septemember. The convention of Jun 1 - Aug 30 works for me, but that’s going to depend on where you live. Jun 21 certainly doesn’t feel like the middle of summer to me (I mean, I was wearing long sleeved shirts here just last week), but it doesn’t feel like the first day of summer, either, as we usually get some nice mid 80s weather well before this date. (Hell, we’ve even hit the 90s in April in Chicago.)

I’d always thought Americans consider summer book-ended by the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. It’s ridiculous to think of the last part of June as the beginning of Summer. Our summer starts in April/May, and ends somewhere between late September and early to mid November, depending on the year, but I live in one of the southernmost parts of the USA. Maybe it works differently in New England?