The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, signifying the middle of summer. The celebration of this day takes place all throughout the world in many different shapes and forms. Druids and pagans celebrate it, performing rebirth rituals. Here are a few of the ways this occasion is celebrated worldwide.
Iceland, Reykjavik, Secret Solstice Festival
Iceland celebrates the summer solstice with a three-day long music festival. The sun sets on the eve of the summer solstice in Iceland at about midnight; it rises again just before 3 am. If you want to catch a few extra hours of sleep, you may want to use thicker curtains in your rooms. Iceland has a Secret Solstice Midnight Sun Music Festival, making use of the extra available daylight. Reggae, hip-hop and electronic acts take the stage, keeping people entertained.
England, Wiltshire, Stonehenge
Stonehenge itself is a site shrouded in mystery, mystics, archaeologists, and historians long debating its perplexing construction. The impressive structure was built by Neolithic humans, creating the enormous stone edifice using primitive tools, tools made from deer antlers and wood. Various theories proliferate regarding its purpose, but we may never know for sure what it was meant to be, whether a prehistoric observatory, a temple made to worship the ancient gods or an ancient burial ground, or perhaps something else. In today’s world, pagans, druids and other miscellaneous people are attracted to Stonehenge to watch the rising of the sun over its stone circle, aligned perfectly with the sunrise.
United States, New York, Times Square
The Big Apple celebrates the summer solstice in a unique way, holding a yoga event that lasts the whole day, beginning at 7 am and going on till sunset. The UN General Assembly has named the day the International Day of Yoga too, adding to the anticipation and enjoyment of the occasion. The event is broadcast via live webcast, enabling those not in New York to participate in it as well.
Austria, Tyrol, Solstice fires
Over here, mountain fires are lit to celebrate the summer solstice, a tradition going back to the medieval age, a time that saw native tribes using mystical fires as a form of worshipping the earth. Fires can be seen throughout the countryside in Austria as a form of celebration, particularly in Tyrol’s Wilder Kaiser region, in the mountains. Cable cars, on which one can enjoy breathtaking views, transport people to various events in the different mountain towns throughout the day going well into the evening. There is, on Lake Achensee, a cruise, and culinary and musical festivals in the backdrop of Nordkette Mountains in Innsbruck.
Sweden, Stockholm, Midsummer
The summer solstice marks an extremely important event in Sweden. Over here, midsummer is celebrated with decadent indulgence, rooted in pagan rituals. Swedes wear wildflower wreaths in their heads, eating potatoes, cured salmon and pickled herring, drinking flavored schnapps, and dancing around maypoles decorated in greenery and flowers. Celebrations take place all through the country, popular ones in Skansen Museum.