June 20, 2012 was the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day of the year when the sun was at its highest point in the sky. People around the world are welcoming the start of the new season by enjoying (or avoiding) the hot weather. In southern England, where yesterday brought heavy rains, pagans gathered at Stonehenge and reveled in spite of the downpour. Collected here are a handful of images of the beginning of Summer, 2012.
A boy rides a water slide in the northern German city of Hameln on May 22 as the temperature reached 86 degrees
Young men run to the Gulf of Mexico at Perdido Key, Fla., on May 20. Two years after an offshore oil well explosion devastated tourism in the region, the Gulf Coast is a popular destination once again, thanks in part to millions of dollars worth of promotion funded by the well's owner, BP.
A Pakistani girl cools off in a water channel in Lahore on May 11. Heatwave conditions in Pakistan have pushed temperatures above 104 degrees in many parts of the country
Belarussian villagers wearing traditional clothes gather to celebrate the pagan holiday of Rusalye, devoted to water nymphs, in the village of Sosny, Belarus, on June 10. According to legend, mermaids come out of the water during the spring and summer to visit the village, and walk through fields and meadows.
Harper Marquez, 1, squeals with delight as her father, Roberto Marquez, swings her into the Jane K. Lowe Children's Fountain in downtown Huntsville, Ala., on June 7.
Lifeguard Sam McCabe of Richmond Heights cleans the water slide at the Maplewood Family Aquatic Center in Maplewood, Mo., on May 24, in preparation for it's opening Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Children from a local secondary school take part in a mass cleanup at the world-famous Echo beach in Perenenan village, Bali, on June 12. The association responsible, Gumi Lestari, is running a project to get the local community involved in protecting the environment. Bali, one of the world's top surf spots, has a huge problem with trash, most of which is the result of tourism.
Young dancers perform as they march in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on New York's Fifth Ave., on June 10. The parade has been an annual event in New York since 1958 and has grown to be one of the city's largest.
Billie Burgess, 9, jumps to burst a giant bubble on the South Bank in London during a spell of hot weather.
A boy cools himself as he sits under a fountain on a hot summer day in New Delhi on May 31, when the temperature reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kayla Riggins and David Gregory play on an inflatable raft in Hartwell Lake at Darwin Wright Park in Anderson, S.C., on May 25.
A body surfer rides a wave during high tide at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on May 22.
The setting sun illuminates dark rain clouds above the eastern Indian city of Calcutta on June 9. The clouds heralded the season's first rainfall, a welcome relief from the hot weather.
Winnie Pajcic, 9, holds on to a railing during a visit to Stockton Park in Ortega, Fla., in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Beryl on May 28. Beryl came ashore several days earlier near Jacksonville Beach with winds of 70 mph.
A Bengal tiger gets a spray of water from a zookeeper on a hot summer day at the Birsa Munda Zoological Park in Ranchi, India, on May 30. Zoo authorities were helping the animals cope with temperatures topping 104 degrees by providing coolers, special roofs and regular hose-downs.
Shawn Davis and his 5-year old son Emerson fly-fish for trout in Spring Creek near Bellefonte, Penn., on the evening of June 10.
Xavier Willis, 7, throws a container of water into the air as he jumps into Dallas Bay at Chester Frost Park in Hixson, Tenn. on June 12. Temperatures climbed to the mid 80s under mostly sunny skies.