-- Though much of the country has already begun experiencing the heat of the season, it’s finally time to welcome summer astronomically, as the world begins celebrating the Summer Solstice this weekend (6:51 a.m. ET Saturday).
The solstice will mark the longest day of year for the northern hemisphere, as the celebrations roll in from east to west.
Traditions surrounding the summer solstice have been going on for centuries, from the ancient Romans’ sacrificing an unborn calf in a tribute to the goddess of the hearth, to the ancient Chinese, where couples would jump through the flames of a bonfire to predict how high the year’s crops would grow.
Though some traditions have faded with time, the excitement surrounding the welcoming of the summer solstice continues to thrive.
Yulin, China, will begin celebrating with the much-protested tradition of eating a combination of dog meat and lychees and drinking liquor, which is believed to help people stay healthy during winter.
Scandinavia will be celebrating the Midsummer Festival of light, flowers, food and music by singing and dancing around maypoles, women wearing flower wreaths on their heads, along with the donning of traditional folk costume.
Denmark will begin celebrating the day before the solstice, known as St. John’s Eve, by placing a witch made of old clothes stuffed with hay to ward off evil forces. In England, the summer solstice will be celebrated by thousands who gather at Stonehenge to bring in the sunrise.
New York will begin celebrating the solstice in Times Square, where thousands will welcome the sun through yoga and meditation.
For Santa Barbara, California, the three-day festivities began at the annual Summer Solstice Festival. It is expected to draw in more than 100,000 attendees and 1,000 parade participants.