Google celebrated the Summer Solstice with a Happy Summer Doodle on Friday. June 21 is the longest day of the year for anyone living north of the equator. It is officially the first day of summer. It is called the Summer Solstice --- when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer, or 23.5 degrees north latitude. For those living in the South of the Equator, it is unofficially the beginning of winter. Solstices occur at the same time around the world, but their local times vary with time zones.
In the Northern Hemisphere, “peak” sunlight usually occurs on June 20, 21, or 22 of any given year. That’s the summer solstice. By contrast, the Southern Hemisphere reaches peak sunlight on December 21, 22, or 23 and the Northern hits peak darkness — that’s our winter solstice.
People celebrate this day by staying outdoors and enjoying the summer sun. For some, the arrival of the summer solstice is a time to celebrate the yearly journey through the seasons, while those who follow paganism consider the day a sacred holiday.
Bonfires and festivals at the iconic Stonehenge mark the Summer Solstice celebrations. During the summer solstice, the sun rises just over the Stonehenge’s Heel Stone and hits the Altar Stone dead center.