Celebrating the Summer Solstice | iHanuman


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Celebrating the Summer Solstice

The last day of school used to mark my favorite day of the year (second to my birthday, of course). On a humid mid-June afternoon, with the shrill ring of the final dismissal bell, my daily regime of studies would dissolve like a Popsicle on hot pavement. The expanse of summer vacation stretched out in front of me, beckoning with promises of suntans, starry nights, bare feet, lazy mornings, and, if I was lucky, summer loves.
As an adult, estranged from the rhythms of a school calendar, responsibilities last year-round. Now my own five senses, rather than a school bell, cue me to break out the flip-flops.
Summer officially arrives on June 21 with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. In cultures around the world, traditions abound for honoring this season. The ancient Chinese celebrated the earth, the feminine, and the yin forces at summer's arrival. Ancient pagans honored midsummer with bonfires; Swedes decorated a midsummer tree for villagers to dance around in a magical ritual intended to bring rain for the crops. Caribbean pirates believed a ship could sail off the world and into the sun on that day each year; and Native Americans created countless stone structures linked to equinoxes and solstices, the most famous being Wyoming's Bighorn Medicine Wheel.
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