Summer begins in 2023 on June 21 with the summer solstice, the day when the Earth’s axis tilts our northern hemisphere most prominently toward the sun.

On this day, the sun will reach its highest point in the sky, and afterward the daylight hours will grow shorter.

The solstice has been a time of celebration and ritual in cultures around the world throughout history. At Stonehenge, a visitor standing in the center of the stone circle can see the sun rising directly over the Heel Stone, located just outside the ring of stones.

The Egyptian Great Pyramids were built in such a way that an observer standing near the Sphinx can watch the sun set directly between two of the pyramids.

Celts and Slavs celebrated the event with bonfires and dancing to help the sun increase its strength.

The Native American Hopi tribe had males dress as dancing spirits of rain and fertility known as kachinas — messengers between humanity and the gods who left the villages at midsummer to live in the mountains, where they were said to visit the dead.

The ancient Druids’ belief that the solstice represented the wedding of heaven and earth is responsible for the tradition of brides planning a lucky June wedding.

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