festivals and traditions

Midsummer: celebrating the Summer Solstice

Just as the Spring Equinox , also the Summer Solstice has been celebrated throughout history since ancient times (and still is!) with rites focused on showing the victory over darkness of the sun god.

The celebrations for Midsummer are usually held on the summer solstice, although in many countries the celebrations have shifted to June 24th, originally the day of the solstice according to the Roman calendar, and later, with Christianity, the day dedicated to the nativity of John the Baptist.

But how do people throughout the world celebrate the Summer Solstice?

From most of Great Britain to Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, as well as Canada, the United States and some parts of Southern Europe, the tradition is that of lighting a bonfire, on the beach or by a lake (especially in Finland), or simply in the garden, and spend the whole night until dawn dancing around it, singing, eating and drinking and having fun with friends.

In Sweden people celebrate “Midsommar” and decorate their houses with flowers and flower garlands. They also dance around a “midsummer pole” (remember the Maypole?)  while listening to and singing traditional songs.

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