June 21 marks the longest and shortest days of the year depending on which hemisphere you are.
If you are in the north, Google is marking the first official day of Summer with a very special Google doodle.
The cute illustration depicts our planet Earth with eyes, an umbrella and beach lounge sit on its head. The round shape of Earth replaces the second letter ‘O’ in Google. The official summer season kicks off today, June 21, and will end on September 23.
If you are in the southern hemisphere, today marks the start of winter, though no doubt recent cold temperatures make it feel as though it is well on its way or already here.
Today is known as the 'solstice' as the Earth is tilted at about 23.4 degrees relative to the orbit around the sun. The part of Earth tilted towards the sun is celebrating the Summer Solstice and will have about 6 months of tilting towards our most important star, while the part of the Earth away from the sun will have a colder climate for the next 6 months.
While not everywhere around the world experiences four distinct seasons, today is a marker for the change between spring and summer or fall and winter. The day has very special importance in some countries where many observe special celebrations or rituals.
From sunrise to yoga
At Stonehenge in England, the sunrise on June 21 is an important event to witness for those of the Pagan faith. In Iceland, some people are pushing for the day to become a universal celebration of birthdays. This practice would mean everyone celebrates their ‘birth day’ together.
In other parts of the world, June 21 is known as World Yoga Day.
The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol, meaning sun, and sistere, which means to stand still.
Solstice occurs twice a year when the sun is tilted most towards and most away from the sun.
Google's doodles are created by the company to celebrate significant events, anniversaries or events. They usually appear at midnight and stay around for 24 hours.
The full list of past Google doodles can be seen on their webpage.