The 2014 summer solstice, the longest day of the year, begins this Saturday, June 21 at 3:51 am PDT. Instead of treating this as just another natural phenomenon that comes and goes, places all over the world are taking advantage of the longest day of the year by celebrating this wonderful occasion. Because the summer solstice only happens once every year, cities around the world have come up with their own unique ways on how they will celebrate the longest day of the year.
The summer solstice occurs when the Earth tilts 23.5 degrees on its axis and the northern hemisphere is directly facing the sun. Those who live in the southern hemisphere will experience the winter solstice this Saturday, the shortest day of the year. Some places have even made the summer solstice a holiday to celebrate with parties, activities and lots of food.
New Orleans has prepared a host of activities to do this Saturday, and there will probably be more than enough time to get to them all. Some of these events include a Pho Festival, the Louisiana Catfish Festival, summer solstice parties, movie showings, a Chippendale performance and plenty more events full of music and food.
When it comes to the summer solstice in China there is only way to celebrate, by dog eating. That is right, dogs, not hot dogs. In an effort to shake off animal rights protestors, the residents of Yulin, China have taken their dog eating celebrations to the next level. Many city residents were photographed chopping and selling skinned and cooked dog carcasses. Other have been photographed sitting at a table full of dog meat and vegetables, all ready to dig in. While this may sound barbaric, residents of Yulin have been practicing this custom for years now. It is believed by these inhabitants that eating dog meat and drinking liquor during the summer solstice will provide them with proper health during the winter months. Some see China’s summer solstice tradition as one of the stranger ways of celebrating the longest day of the year in comparison to how the rest of the world will spend it.
A typical American way of celebrating the summer solstice is with backyard barbecues, pool parties, or spending the day at the beach. Portland, Ohio is having their own form of celebration for this day by having star parties at their state parks. There will also be the option of bonfires and belly dancers at the river. Greensboro, NC is having its summer solstice celebration by throwing a party in honor of the event at the Greensboro Arboretum. This will be Greensboro’s 10-year anniversary celebrating the summer solstice with this special celebration. 25 musical guests are scheduled to perform throughout the entire day. The celebration with also include face painting, dancing and hula-hooping. A fire is scheduled to go off at nine pm as soon as the sun sets, celebrating the end of the longest day of the year.
Even though the summer solstice is the longest day of the year, it is not necessarily the hottest. Cities all over the world will be celebrating the summer solstice this Saturday, June 21, all planning elaborate activities on how to spend the longest day of the year. Whether those plans are to eat dog meat, watch fire dancers, or to just relax at the beach, this year’s summer solstice will be celebrated all around the world in many unique ways.
By Amena S. Chaudhri