Summertime is the season best known for its sunshine. Sun worshipers around the globe celebrate the June Solstice, the longest day of the year. However, some traditions welcome summer earlier than mid-June. For example, May Day and Memorial Day are considered the unofficial start of summer.
May Day is an ancient European festival that begins summer with woven floral garlands and wildflower gatherings. This celebration is on the first day of the month, about halfway between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.
Many Americans wait until the end of May to declare the unofficial summer season has begun. Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, is set aside to remember the passing of soldiers in service. Instead, the holiday became a three-day weekend of capitalization and holiday tourism.
This is also the time when many nations observe daylight savings time. Fortunately, after a long winter, the extra daytime hour feels like summer has already started. Additionally, in most countries, school-aged youth are given a vacation from classwork, giving them the freedom to be children. People celebrate this season by doing outdoor activities with friends and families.
Perhaps the most commonly recognized celebration surrounding this season is the Summer/June Solstice. Traditionally, Midsummer was a pagan celebration of fertility and light defeating darkness. Participants would wear protective garlands made with herbs and flowers to ward off the evil spirits they believed would appear on the solstice. They lit bonfires, danced, and feasted all night until embers remained. Then they would jump over the coals and make wishes for the upcoming months. According to Babbel, a current event is the Secret Solstice Midnight Sun Music Festival is a three-day celebration in Iceland.
Season of Sun Celebrations
Guatemalans follow the Ancient Mayans’ solstice traditions. They celebrate at the Mayan ruins of Tikal by performing spiritual rituals at sunrise and sunset, highlighting the architectural aspects of the temples’ construction, which showcases the solstice light.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Published on Simpleaf
Reader’s Digest: 17 Fascinating Summer Solstice Traditions Around the Globe; by Julia Marie Reynolds and Updated by Leandra Beabout
Babbel: 8 Festive Summer Traditions From Around The World; by Steph Koyfman
Alaska.org: The Best Festivals to Celebrate Summer Solstice in Alaska
Featured and Top Image by Steve Wall Courtesy of Flickr – Creative Commons License