This year's summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, will be on Friday, June 21, 2013 — giving us that much needed excuse to get out of the office and enjoy the longest summer evening of the year.
The solstice marks the point of the year when the northern hemisphere is tilted the most towards the sun and marks the official first day of summer. For all of you who believe in a flat earth, it marks that time of year when the giant dragon that wheels around the earth takes a smoke break (or something along those lines).
According to Timeanddate.com, Toronto, for example, will see 15 hours and 26 minutes of daylight with sunset at 9:03 p.m.
The solstice is celebrated by many European cultures as well. Midsummer festivities are popular in Scandinavia and included customs such as dancing around a midsummer pole, decorating your homes with wreaths and a big meal, preferably while basking in the long northern evening.
Thousands go to England's Stonehenge on the morning of the solstice to celebrate the day.
Of course, these pagan traditions were co-opted by the Catholic church. In many places the summer solstice also coincides (or comes close to) the feast day of St. John. Canadians, and Quebecers in particular, are familiar with the holiday. Quebecers know it as St. Jean Baptiste Day and they celebrate it June 24.
Of course, if you live in the southern hemisphere, June 21 marks the winter solstice. New Zealanders in Auckland, the largest city in that country, will see just over 9 hours and 37 minutes of daylight.
Looking for something to eat or drink for your next summer outing? Check out some of our tips below