Embracing The Summer Solstice

For centuries, people have celebrated the Summer Solstice (“solstice” meaning “sun” and “to stand still” in Latin). After all, we get three whole seconds more today than we did yesterday or will tomorrow!

June 20, 2012, is no exception, and people worldwide are making the most of this extra sunshine. Check out these festivities, happening both overseas and right here in the good ole’ U.S. of A:

  • For years (since “time immemorial,” in fact, according to this source), Stonehenge has been a popular solstice location for pagans and druids. This year, a special sculpture called “Ancestor” will be brought to Stonehenge as part of the celebration, and will then be relocated to Salisbury to be a part of the Olympic torch event.
  • Pacific Northwesterners have honored the Summer Solstice every year since 1989 with an energetic — and colorful — parade. Naked and nearly-nude participants bike through town covered in body paint to pay homage to the longest day of the year. (Note: Though the parade is in honor of the Summer Solstice, it often takes place a bit earlier than the actual holiday. This year’s parade was held on June 16 and 17.)
  • The farther north you go, the longer the Summer Solstice lasts. That’s why Icelanders are some of the best at commemorating the longest day of the year. Reykjavik holds “haunted walks” on the evening of the solstice, and many parts of the country hold Viking festivals during this time of year. Clubs and bars are open later than usual, and many Icelanders choose to ring in the new Viking year at bonfires hosted in cities across the Scandinavian nation.
  • If you happen to be in New York City today, you may have noticed that the Big Apple is full of yogis — part of a serene Summer Solstice celebration in Times Square.
  • To enjoy the solstice in more of an Asian-endorsed way, consider following these tips to behave as the ancient Chinese philosophers may have.

How are you planning to make the most of your bonus three seconds today?

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