This year the summer solstice begins today, June 21, 2017. In the northern hemisphere, this marks the longest day of the year. Some places like the Arctic Circle, for example, receive 24 hours of daylight! 😮 Here is a short list of places and/or cultures that welcome the summer solstice with drinks, games, and other “summer” activities.
Indigenous communities of South America welcome the summer solstice with the annual Inti Raymi Festival. This festival celebrates the summer harvest and praises Pachamama (the Earth) and Inti (the sun) through dance, colourful costumes, and feasting.
In the city that never sleeps, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers gather in Times Square and welcome the summer season with yoga! A favourite and must is of course the Sun Salutation poses. Its popularity has grown over the years that a live broadcast is now available for people who couldn’t make it or to those who live outside of New York City or the USA in general.
The UK’s most famous neolithic structure baffles scientists and historians, but one thing is for sure, it attracts millions of visitors each year! A particularly busy day for Stonehenge is during the summer solstice. Many self-proclaimed druids and pagans as well as locals and tourists visit this mysterious site to welcome the first sunrise of the summer.
In Spain locals celebrate the beginning of summer with fire! In the Festival de Sant Joan, everything from bonfires to fireworks are on display. But don’t worry too much about the fire because you’ll always have the soothing waters of the Mediterranean Sea to cool you off. So don’t miss out on Spain’s hottest festival. It will surely leave you “fired” up!
On the eastern side of the Mediterranean, Croatia celebrates the summer solstice with stargazing and astronomy. Croatia’s Astrofest is less about fun in the sun and more about nighttime stargazing. Overall, this late night festival combines science and spirituality on the first night of the summer.
Finally, the Swedes refer to the summer solstice as Midsummer. Their Midsummer festivities include flower crowns, wildflower wreaths, traditional Swedish cuisine like pickled herring and cured salmon, and of course alcohol, preferably schnapps! The most popular activity is the maypole decoration and dance where participants add colourful ribbons, flowers, and bells to a giant wooden pole.
Do you have any special traditions that celebrate the summer season? Share your cool summer activities in the comments below. And don’t forget that Bamba has great trips and tours for the summer from our best seller Europe Highlights Explorer 17D/16N to our exhilarating Aussie Adventure 17D/16N in the land “Down Under.”