With the rising heat and cool breezes, summer is right around the corner. Which means it’s almost time for one of the world’s most ancient celebrations: the summer solstice. This year welcome the first day of summer with fun and Mindful Living celebrations.
The summer solstice, also known as the first day of summer, usually occurs on June 20th or June 21 of every year. It is the longest day of the day, while the winter solstice is the shortest. And because of the tilt of the Earth’s axis and it’s regular rotation around the sun, the summer solstice is also the day in which the sun can be seen at the highest, northernmost point in the sky.
For centuries, civilizations have welcomed the first day of summer with much fanfare. In Egypt, they celebrated the summer solstice by having festivals for honoring Isis, the goddess of fertility and abundance. Ancient Greeks held a festival called Kronia, which honored the agriculture god, Cronus. In Chinese culture, the summer solstice is a time to honor the force of yin, which represents earth and femininity. And the temples that were built by the Mayans and Aztecs were built with the summer solstice in mind.
Summer Solstice Festivals
Want to learn more? Listed below are fun festivals and celebrations from all over the world that honor the summer solstice.
- Stonehenge. Want to partake in a unique and historical tradition? There’s no better place than at Stonehenge. Every year thousands flock to Wiltshire, England to conduct ceremonies and watch the sunrise or the sunset at this beautiful and mysterious ancient site.
- Inti Raymi. Although it’s technically the winter solstice, Peru’s Inti Raymi is an Incan festival that celebrates the sun, fertility, and harvests. It occurs in late June, in Cuzco, Peru. There’s “music, dancing, prayers, scattered flowers, and ladies with brooms sweeping away evil spirits.”
- Midnight Sun Festival. On the day of the summer solstice, Fairbanks, Alaska experiences 21 hours and 43 minutes of daylight. In honor of the “return of the sun,” they host a neighborhood festival called Midnight Sun Festival, which is complete with music, arts and crafts, face painting, BBQ, and other fun activities.
- Aboriginal Arts Festival. If you happen to be in Canada there are numerous festivals to look out for. One example is the Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival, which has art workshops, dances, and musical and cultural performances.