14 Fascinating Summer Solstice Traditions Around the Globe

Check out how cultures around the world celebrate the day of the year that contains the most hours of glorious, energizing, winter-blues-chasing sunlight.

Sunrise at Stonehenge

Sunrise. Summer solstice at the ancient stone circle at Stonehenge World Heritage site in Wiltshire.MARK HEMSWORTH/LNP/REX/Shutterstock

Perhaps one of the most coveted seats around the world for the northern hemisphere's summer solstice is on the grounds of the Neolithic structures at Stonehenge in the UK. Ingeniously designed to showcase the ascending light of the solstice, the sunrise on this occasion aligns perfectly with a circle carved in stone at the site. Theories of origin vary, but both mystical seekers and history buffs convene here on the solstice to witness an architectural wonder built, some say, to worship deities of the earth and sun. Stonehenge happens to be one of the 10 ancient mysteries researchers still can't explain.

Kronia, Greece

Navagio Beach (Shipwreck beach) at sunrise on Zakynthos Island, Greeceproslgn/Shutterstock

In ancient Greece, the summer solstice was the most egalitarian day of the year. During the Greek festival of Kronia, social hierarchy was largely abandoned in favor of a level playing field for all classes. According to Britannica, slaves and lords celebrated side by side on the solstice, and certain legal and moral restrictions were lifted. The day was meant to emulate the Golden Age of Kronos when no one had to labor for a living and all of humanity was considered equal. A tenacious group of modern Greeks still follow another 2,500-year-old tradition by trekking 9,573 feet to the peak of Mt. Olympus on the summer solstice.

Chichén Itzá, Mexico

View of the famous pyramid of Kukulkan In Chichen Itza during sunrise, MexicoAxelMezini/Shutterstock

Another wonder of ancient architecture, the pyramids of Chichén Itzá on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula are a wonderful place to celebrate the longest day of the year. The precise construction and engineering of the pyramids create a visual display twice a year in which the central pyramid of El Castillo is bathed in pure sunlight on one side and full shadow on the other. Thousands of spectators, both religious and pagan, come from near and far to celebrate the solstice in view of this ethereal spectacle, in which the pyramid appears to be cut in two.

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