The science and culture of the summer solstice in 18 colorful images.
Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images.

The summer solstice is culture and science all wrapped up in one.

For some, it's a day to dress up in your "Silver Lake Shaman" best and throw a party. To science types, it's technically the days when our planet's rotational axis is most inclined toward the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, that happens every year on June 20-21 while in the Southern Hemisphere, it's Dec. 20-21.

In the U.S., the summer solstice is largely an unofficial holiday. But in many countries, like Sweden, it's a time for love. "A lot of children are born nine months after Midsummer in Sweden," according to Swedish ethnologist Jan-Öjvind Swahn.


For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Here's how some have marked the moment.

Thousands started the day by making the trek to Stonehenge. It's widely believed the historic landmark was used to mark the occasion when the sun reaches its zenith in the sky.

Epic photography ensued.

Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images.

Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images.

Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images.

Photo by Geoff Caddick/Getty Images.

June 21 also just happens to be the International Day of Yoga, giving people a chance to blend the two occasions.

Photo by Timothy Clary/Getty Images.

Photo by Timothy Clary/Getty Images.

Photo by Timothy Clary/Getty Images.

But science has a lot to say about solstices, too.

NASA dropped some fun facts.

And, of course, Neil deGrasse Tyson was there in signature fashion to get hilariously technical about it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shared this incredible satellite view as the solstice formally made its way across the planet.

And here's a nice visual breakdown of seasonal changes:

While we're celebrating the sun, don't forget to respect its power. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan took a moment to encourage everyone stepping out to use sunscreen.

Not to be outdone by their Stonehenge neighbors, crowds gathered in Avebury, England, near another historic neolithic henge that has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Meanwhile, the tiny Russian village of Glubokovo is home to an ancient pagan ceremony, one of the oldest known summer solstice celebrations in the world. While most solstice events honor the rising sun, this annual affair flips the script to mark one of the year's shortest nights.

Photo by Andrei Borodulina/Getty Images.

Photo by Andrei Borodulina/Getty Images.

Photo by Andrei Borodulina/Getty Images.

Meanwhile, other people there decided it was the right time to heroically take a nap.

We salute you.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

As the world shifts on its axis, it's a time to reflect on our relationship with the only home we've got.

The return of summer months can be a welcome respite from a long, cold winter. Maybe you'll hit up a barbecue, do some yoga, or chant to your deity. Maybe it will just be another day. That's OK, too.

However you mark the occasion, there's no other day quite like it.

There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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