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 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)
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)
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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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