The Summer Solstice is coming quickly. Most people know and recognize that this is the official first day of Summer, as well as the longest day of sun light in the sky, or the day when the Sun is at its Northernmost point in the sky, but it represents much more than that and is celebrated worldwide each year.
Since the beginning of time, the Sun is what has given us light and warmth, and the ability to even live this wonderful life on planet Earth! Our entire planet revolves around this big ball of fire in the sky, so it’s no wonder that it would be celebrated as it is.
In ancient civilizations, the sun was also used as a marker of time and seasons. The Stonehenge calendar is a great example of this. The Stonehenge is a massive stone structure in Europe that was built in prehistoric times and is believed to be used in coordination with the sun. People say that the alignment between the stones and the sun’s rise and fall on the day of the Solstice could not be accidental. Even today, Stonehenge is one of the biggest Solstice celebrations holding a four day long festival.
Native Americans hold yearly rituals to honor the Sun and the Solstice. The Solstice is believed to be time of renewal. Many tribes celebrate with similar traditions such dancing, singing, drumming, prayer, and meditation. Some go to further extremes with visions, fasting, and skin piercing. The Lakota tribe goes as far as a holding a 28 day ceremony, with the final 4-8 days of intense festivities.
In Ancient Chinese culture, the Summer Solstice is dedicated to celebrating femininity. They celebrated the Sun, and the Yin forces. This holiday is complemented with the Winter Solstice, which is devoted to the heavens, masculinity, and the Yang forces.
Today the Summer Solstice is still celebrated around the world with festivals and celebrations consisting of music, food, and parades. One of the largest festivals (and probably most expensive) is the Secret Solstice celebration held in Iceland. It is a huge multi day music festival with some of the most beautiful scenery you could imagine.
Many of those in the Pacific Northwest will flock to Seattle for the Fremont Solstice event, which is a free-spirited weekend that includes a parade, live musical performances, and vendors. The event is free admission and open to all ages. This event is huge, and an experience you will definitely never forget.
If you want to celebrate your Solstice with some yoga and sun salutations with thousands of others in the streets, New York is the place to be. They have actually named this day the International Day of Yoga. If you don’t live in the New York area, you can still participate remotely with the event’s live webcast!
Another event that attracts more than 100.000 people from around the world is Santa Barbara’s Summer Solstice Celebration in California. This is a very unique event all about creative expression, which is apparent in the over the top costumes and colorful floats.
More of an introvert? Since the Solstice is supposed to mark a new beginning, set forth new goals for yourself. Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish, or any changes you want to make in your current lifestyle. Think of it as a chance for redemption at all of those failed New Year’s Eve resolutions.