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A History of Summer Solstice Celebrations

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 06/21/11 05:51 PM ET   Updated: 08/21/11 06:12 AM ET

From the festival of madness to the festival of love, from harvest celebrations to a day of religious observance, the summer solstice has worn many hats. The one thing binding all those different avatars together, though, is that the day is supposed to remind us of nature's awesome power. It's a testimony to the vastness of the universe, to the strength of the sun and to our incredible insignificance.

Click on the slideshow below to find out more about the spiritual history of the longest day of the year.

Stonehenge: 3000 B.C.E. - 1500 B.C.E.
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Despite the speculation around the purpose of Stonehenge, there is one thing we are certain of: At the dawn of every summer solstice, people gather at the site to watch the sun rise above the aptly named "sun-stone." For centuries, Druids, Wiccans and other neo-pagan groups have gathered to celebrate the solstice at Stonehenge. These celebrations draw from the unique construction and history of the site: There is a celestial observatory, the aforementioned sun-stone and an avenue that might have been used as a procession route on the longest and shortest days of the year.
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