The 21st of June was the longest day of the year. In England, many flocked to Stonehenge to… well, do a number of different things. The history of Stonehenge is an interesting one, and the historian Ronald Hutton remarked of the C20th neo-druid revival (a brilliant EPQ topic if ever there was one) that “it was a great, and potentially uncomfortable, irony that modern Druids had arrived at Stonehenge just as archaeologists were evicting the ancient Druids from it”. However, on the other side of the world, the Chinese solstice “xiazhi” was being celebrated in a slightly more tense way in the southeastern city of Yulin. Since around 772 BC, Chinese people have eaten dogs to celebrate the solstice. However, things are changing rapidly, and although some are doggedly holding on to the tradition (apologies), the animal rights lobby is beginning to win. The local government have now banned its officials from participating, and there a major concerns over the sourcing of the dogs for slaughter. There’s a growing tension between local traditions and increasingly globalised moral values that any PPE, Politics, Oriental Studies, Philosophy and Geography students should have a well-read opinion on.
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