People around the world celebrated “Summer Solstice” with gusto and vigor that ushers in the beginning of the summer and marks the longest day of the year on Friday June 21. For some, it was an ideal day for doing Yoga, as well.
The Summer Solstice occurs as the Earth’s axis is tilted at about 23.4 degrees toward the plane of the Earth's orbit. For half of the year, the northern hemisphere comes closer to the sun, while for the rest of the year, it is the southern hemisphere that is closest.
In the north, the maximum effect of this tilt occurs between June 20 and June 22, but in the south it happens between Dec. 20 and Dec. 23. Several people from the steel canyons of New York to the stone figures of England welcomed the first day of summer on Friday, while those in the south of the Equator welcomed the official beginning of winter, the Associated Press reported.
Although people could not see bright sunshine due to cloud covering the early morning sky, they celebrated the occasion with music and dancing, the report added.
In England, more than 20,000 people gathered at the Stonehenge monument to celebrate Summer Solstice 2013. The occasion typically draws many people to the mysterious set of standing stones every year. The monument, located on the Salisbury Plain about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southwest of London, was constructed in three phases between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C.
In New York City, more than 15,000 people gathered at the Times Square to celebrate "Solstice in Times Square" on Friday, but in a different way. The New Yorkers took part in a group yoga practice on the morning of the summer solstice. The “Mind over Madness” event included free yoga classes all day.
Macedonians celebrated the Summer Solstice at the stone marker of the Kokino megalithic observatory in Kumanovo. The 3,800 years old observatory, discovered in 2001, is located in the north-western town of Kumanovo 43 miles (70 kilometers) north from capital Skopje, Reuters reported.
According to NASA, the Kokino megalithic observatory is ranked as the fourth oldest observatory in the world after Egypt's Abu Simbel, Britain's Stonehenge and Cambodia's Angkor Wat. Check out the slideshow above to see how Summer Solstice is celebrated across different parts of the world.