With summertime just around the corner, I found it made sense to discover some summertime celebrations that take place around the world. There are some interesting ones, folks! Enjoy!
June 9, 2016 – China
During Summer Solstice, it is said that the sun is at its strongest. The sun, like the Chinese Dragon, represents masculine energy. Therefore, this time of the year is believed to be the peak of male energy. The day is celebrated with dragon boat races which represent the dragon and the active energy associated with racing. Painted with bright colors, the boats are generally 20-35 meters long and require over 30 people to row them. It is said that the team that wins the races will have good luck in the next year.
Ivan Kupala Day
June 23, 2016 – Russia
This celebration of the peak of summer was once to pay tribute to John the Baptist and the act of purifying people with water. Today, it is celebrated with water fights and swimming. Girls will also wear wreaths of flowers on their heads during the day, and set them afloat in the evening. If a girls’ wreath travels a long distance, it is said she will be happy in the coming year. If it sinks, it is said to be a sign of the end of love and no marriage in the year. Bonfires are another part of Kupala Day. The fires are a sign of purification, as they burn off bad luck. Those who jump the highest over the fire are said to be the happiest that year.
Sankthansaften (Midsummer Day)
June 23-24, 2016 – Norway
Another celebration of the summer solstice, Sankthansaften is filled with tradition and superstition. Bird cherries are placed above every cow in the barn to ward off trolls and supernatural powers from having control of the cattle. Homes are decorated with birch branches and rowanberries, while large bonfires are lit to help strengthen the sun and to protect against trolls and witches. People gather for picnics and barbecues around the fires to celebrate and enjoy traditional Norwegian foods.
June 23-28 – Cornwall, UK
In ancient times, this festival was celebrated with large bonfires to commemorate mid summer. People would hold hands and circle the fire, preserving themselves from evil and witchcraft. Today, the festival has a much more playful air, with the electing of a Mock Mayor and theatrical entertainment. Festive processions take to the streets with music and giant sculptures. Large markets open for people to wander through. The day ends with an impressive display of fireworks.
June 24 – Cuzco, Peru
This ancient Inca celebration of the Sun God The celebration took place during winter solstice, when the sun is farthest from the Earth. The Incas feared that the Sun would not return (and the resulting famine), so they would gather to honor the Sun God and plead for the return of the Sun. Today, The Festival of the Sun is the second largest festival in South America. The festival is celebrated with street fairs, colorful costumes, music, cultural reenactments, and a large processional.
July 15 & August 15, 2016 – Japan
Obon is believed by Buddhists to be a time when the spirits of peoples’ ancestors come back to their homes to be with their families. Because of this, Obon is a time for people to travel to their hometowns and spend time with family members. People clean their homes and give offerings to the ancestral spirits. Lanterns are lit inside homes and family crests are hung to help guide the spirits. Communities host carnivals and traditional Bon dance. At the end of the festivities, lanterns are released at sea, sending off the spirits until next time.
July 21-23, 2016 – Linz, Austria
Pflasterspektakel is a huge street art festival in Upper Austria. The festival got its start in 1987, after the cultural manager for Linz visited Morocco for the birthday celebrations of for King Hassan II. With inspiration from these celebrations, the International Street Musicians’ Day took place with wild success. The next year, the name was changed to Linz Pflasterspektakel, and included magicians, acrobats, and mimes along with the musicians. Today, artists perform at over 40 different locations around the city, for more than 200,000 spectators that come for the festival.
Aug 1, 2016 – Northern Territory, Australia
Picnic Day was originally declared a holiday to commemorate the emancipation of Chinese railway workers. Today, it is a time of leisure and food, as families and friends gather outdoors. People participate in games such as tug-of-war, and three-legged races. Attending sporting events and rodeos is also common on Picnic Day.
August 10-13 – Killorglin, Ireland
One of Ireland’s oldest festivals, Puck Fair is quite unique. Each year, a group goes to the mountains and captures a wild goat. The goat is then taken back to the village and crowned King Puck. The Goat King is paraded through town and put on a high stand for the remainder of the fair. Then, the festivities begin. Pubs stay open later. Horse and cattle fairs take place, and market vendors sell their wares to tourists. Now you may be thinking…a goat, huh? Well it turns out that the goat is a pagan symbol for fertility and was once highly associated with the beginning of the harvest season.
August 25, 2016 – India
This Hindu holiday serves to commemorate the birth of the deity, Krishna. It is celebrated by fasting, making offerings to the gods, and worshiping Krishna. At midnight, (the time it is believed that Krishna was born) people exchange gifts, dance, sing devotional songs, and feast together. Temples hold scripture readings and images of Krishna are washed and decorated. The next day, the ceremony of Dahi-Handi is performed, where a large pot filled with milk, butter and honey is suspended 20-40 feet high. Young men create a human pyramid and the top person breaks the pot and claims the prize. This is done to remember Lord Krishna’s childhood pranks of stealing butter and milk from people’s houses.
August 31, 2016 – Bunol, Spain
As the story goes, once upon a time in 1945, a crowd of young people attended a parade. They got a little too excited and caused a person to fall off of one of the floats. This guy got so mad that he lost his cool and started to hit everything in his path. This got everyone all riled up, and they started throwing tomatoes at one another. The next year, people repeated the fight and began a tradition, with more and more participants every year. Today, this World’s Largest Food Fight is limited to 20,000 paying participants.
Did you enjoy this post? You many also enjoy reading about 7 Springtime Celebrations Around The World!