What are you supposed to do on summer solstice?

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What Are You Supposed to Do on Summer Solstice?


Earthlings in the Northern Hemisphere: are you hot enough yet? Well, Sunday we're welcoming the longest day of the year...

Right, summer solstice! So besides it being opposite of the winter solstice, how do we explain this annual event?

To understand the summer solstice, you've got to understand the Earth's tilt. It might not feel like it, but the Earth is skewed at a 23.5-degree angle. It's also spinning while spinning, but that's for another day.

"The overhead sun is over the Tropic of Cancer. It receives the largest amount of solar radiation. ... On this day, the length of daytime in the Northern Hemisphere is the longest of the year."

As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration points out, the name itself speaks to the length of day. "The word solstice comes from Latin solstitium or sol (the sun) + -stit-, -stes (standing)." Basically, it'll feel like the sun is standing still.

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Summer solstice 2015 (Stonehenge, Russia)
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What are you supposed to do on summer solstice?
A boy holds an orange balloon as seen through a waterfall feature at The Yards Park on the first day of summer, Sunday June 21, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Children play in a shallow pool as seen through a waterfall feature at The Yards Park on the first day of summer, Sunday June 21, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
A child cools off in a wall of water on the first day of summer, Sunday, June 21, 2015, at Yards Park in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The first day of summer and father's day combine to make a fountain on the Northside of Pittsburgh the perfect place to cool off Sunday, June 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The first day of summer and a fountain on the Northside of Pittsburgh make for the perfect Father's Day afternoon for this young boy and his dad, right, Sunday, June 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The first day of summer and father's day combine to make a fountain on the Northside of Pittsburgh the perfect place to cool off Sunday, June 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
In this photo taken late Saturday, June 20, 2015, Russian neo-pagans light the bonfire celebrating the summer solstice in the village Okunevo, in Omsk, Russia. The festivities of Ivan Kupala, or John the Baptist, is similar to Mardi Gras and reflects pre-Christian Slavic traditions and practices. (AP Photo/Dmitry Feoktistov)
In this photo taken late Saturday, June 20, 2015, a Russian neo-pagan performs at the bonfire celebrating the summer solstice in the village Okunevo, in Omsk, Russia. The festivities of Ivan Kupala, or John the Baptist, is similar to Mardi Gras and reflects pre-Christian Slavic traditions and practices. (AP Photo/Dmitry Feoktistov)
The sun rises as thousands of revellers gathered at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, near Salisbury, England, Sunday, June 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
a Reveller gestures as he celebrates the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2015. The festival, which dates back thousands of years, celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun is at its maximum elevation. Modern druids and people gather at the landmark Stonehenge every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer. AFP PHOTO/NIKLAS HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
The sun rises as thousands of revellers gathered at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, near Salisbury, England, Sunday, June 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
People pose for a photograph as thousands of revellers gathered at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, near Salisbury, England, Sunday, June 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
The sun rises as thousands of revellers gathered at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, near Salisbury, England, Sunday, June 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
People lie down together as thousands of revellers gathered at the ancient stone circle Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, near Salisbury, England, Sunday, June 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
A reveler looks on as she and others celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2015. The festival, which dates back thousands of years, celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun is at its maximum elevation. Modern druids and people gather at the landmark Stonehenge every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer. AFP PHOTO/NIKLAS HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
Revellers photograph the sunrise as they celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2015. The festival, which dates back thousands of years, celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun is at its maximum elevation. Modern druids and people gather at the landmark Stonehenge every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer. AFP PHOTO/NIKLAS HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
Revellers celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2015. The festival, which dates back thousands of years, celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun is at its maximum elevation. Modern druids and people gather at the landmark Stonehenge every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer. AFP PHOTO/NIKLAS HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
Revellers celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2015. The festival, which dates back thousands of years, celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun is at its maximum elevation. Modern druids and people gather at the landmark Stonehenge every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer. AFP PHOTO/NIKLAS HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
Revellers celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2015. The festival, which dates back thousands of years, celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun is at its maximum elevation. Modern druids and people gather at the landmark Stonehenge every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer. AFP PHOTO/NIKLAS HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
Revellers celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2015. The festival, which dates back thousands of years, celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun is at its maximum elevation. Modern druids and people gather at the landmark Stonehenge every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer. AFP PHOTO/NIKLAS HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
People stand under the Sky Reflector-Net, a 79-foot-high convex of aluminum panels and stainless steel cables, in the atrium at the Fulton Center transit hub during the summer solstice, Sunday, June 21, 2015, in New York. The atrium at the Fulton Center opened last November. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Jim Constanzo, of Brooklyn, N.Y., plays a trumpet in the Fulton Center transit hub during the summer solstice, Sunday, June 21, 2015, in New York. The atrium at the Fulton Center opened last November. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
People look at the Sky Reflector-Net, a 79-foot-high convex of aluminum panels and stainless steel cables, in the atrium at the Fulton Center transit hub during the summer solstice, Sunday, June 21, 2015, in New York. The atrium at the Fulton Center opened last November. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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Since most places up north can expect somewhere around 16 hours of daylight on the summer solstice, it's a good time to soak up some rays. But the annual event also coincides with many formal traditions.

In Scandinavia, for example, they celebrate Midsummer — a historically Pagan celebration in which people feast and dance around a Maypole.

They also drink... and sing... at the same time. "We recommend two beers per nube. This will improve both your singing and your Swedish."

In some Christian traditions, people celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist through feasts and bonfires.

If you're confused on what to do for summer solstice, just eat or take a picture of the sun, you'll have plenty time for both.

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