Latitude Filter: So, today is the Solstice (shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere; longest in the Southern), with all its cultural significance, which got me thinking about what's it's like living near the equator, where the days are all (more or less) the same length throughout the year?
After reading this piece:
which details some of the long-standing cultural associations in places, mostly Europe and North America, where the Solstice occurs, I started thinking about the ways that the seasons and their changes affect my daily routines and attitudes.
But, recently, I learned/realized that in the Tropics the days would be of equal length all year round. (Wikipedia claims that in Singapore, near the Equator, the days stay within a few seconds of 12 hours consistently.) Living in the northern USA, I suppose I always associated nice warm weather, as in summer time, with *long* days, but then, I'm realizing in the parts of world that have the most summer-like weather, the nights are consistently "longer" than what we'd have during summer in Temperate climate. And before anyone jumps in, I know, the totals for day and night add up to the same wherever you are - in the Polar region weeks and months of near total darkness followed later by long periods of day light add up to same totals as in the Tropics, where each day is divided evenly between 12 hours of light and dark - still, the effect on human perception and culture is obviously different, which leads to my questions:
- In what ways does having nights and days of pretty much equal length influence the culture and lifestyle of communities near the equator?
- How are everyday routines different for people living in places that don't experience the Solstices?
The image I keep having is of people in the Tropics sitting around the camp fire at night for long periods and thus inventing/telling stories to pass the time. Also, with 12 hours of night, the role of spirits, ghosts, and other mysteries that defy the "light of day" would seem to be accentuated. But these are just the examples that came to mind.
Anyway, I know this is an odd topic, but I find myself fascinated to realize that what for me is a common pattern of life/culture, the shifting length of day/night throughout the year, doesn't happen in large areas of the world near the equator.