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I don’t know about you, but the Summer Solstice is definitely something I look forward to every year. The longest day of the year and officially the first day of summer, it’s an ideal cause for celebration and festivities have taken place on this day throughout history. This year, Summer Solstice falls on 20th June and here’s a pick of the top places to celebrate it around the world.
If you’re chasing the sun in Spain, be sure to head to Barcelona for their version of summer solstice celebrations; Sant Joan Night. The biggest element here is fire as locals believe that burning something will cleanse you of your sins. Also, if you and your partner have a steady foot, holding hands and jumping over the fire seven times is said to bring a happy life. Unless you can jump high, it’s probably advisable to give the leaping a miss. People flock to the beach to watch the fantastic fireworks displays and generally enjoy the revelries so get there early and secure your spot!
Perhaps one of the biggest and best known events in the world in hosted right here in the UK at that ever so famous yet highly mysterious site by the name of Stonehenge. At sun rise, the Heel Stone and Slaughter Stone, positioned outside the main circle, align with the rising sun. Samba bands and drummers provide the entertainment to around 20,000 attendees during the all-night party which really sets the atmosphere at this sacred site.
Most Americans enthusiastically celebrate Summer Solstice, particularly in Santa Barbara which hosts arguably the largest event in the country. This year’s theme for the festival, which runs from June 23rd – 25th, is “fantasy” and thus spectators are in for a treat when they watch the annual parade! With tonnes of delicious food to be consumed, plus craft and art vendors, workshops and more this is a full blown celebration of summer. Just a short distance from Los Angeles in a hire car, you can easily join in on the action!
Declared a national holiday in Sweden, this is one of the most important days of the year for the Swedes! Their version of the festival is called Midsommar and you’ll see houses decorated with wreaths and garlands, whilst people gather for traditional dishes of potatoes, smoked fish and fresh fruit all washed down with schnapps and there are traditional dances around the decorated midsommar pole to the sounds of traditional folk songs!
Going by the name of Kupala Day in Russia, it is a summer solstice event that is definitely celebrated enthusiastically and again one of the most important days of the year! Similar to Spain, traditions see youths jumping over the flames of bonfires and some women float wreaths of flowers lit with candles down rivers to gain an insight into their fortunes. Men may try to catch a wreath or two in the hope of capturing the interest of the woman who released it.
Wherever you happen to during the summer solstice this year, be sure to plan some activities that will really make the most of the every long day and start your summer as you mean to go on!
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Kelly is both a glampacker and a resident travel agent at Beat the Brochure. Kelly is a solo travel and Europe expert starting her travels as a rep in Ibiza. Kelly dreams every day of living in Hawaii with a very hunky, tanned man and would be much closer to this dream if it weren't for a high heel obsession.