Japanese artist Takashi Murakami was commissioned by Google to produce the doodle, the multicoloured cartoon, titled The First Day of Summer, entwines flowery bursts around gaping mouthed heads characteristic of the Japanese anime style.
The doodle represents the date of the summer solstice, much loved by druids, but the doodle’s title is somewhat misleading – the solstice is the longest day in summer, rather than the first, although it may give new hope to those deluged in recent days and those heading to the Glastonbury festival this weekend.
The summer solstice, which falls on 21 June each year, occurs when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun, creating the longest day in the northern hemisphere.
Also known as Midsummer, the solstice has long held spiritual significance for many, some of whom are drawn to sites such as the stone circle at Stonehenge to celebrate. Li, the Chinese goddess of light, also has a festival on the solstice.