Celebrating the Summer solstice

By Sergio González | 10:55

Summer solstice night has been considered a magical moment of the year since we exist as a specie. All kinds of rites and celebrations take place across the globe. Whether you want to jump in the magical mood or just enjoy the songs, dances and food, here are some of the most important celebrations during the summer solstice.

Virtually every ancient culture from India to Mexico celebrated some sort of ceremony to hail the middle of the year -solstice is when sun appears three days in row from the same point in the horizon, giving the longest daylight- and even Christianism and other major religions added some pagan rites to their own heritage.

Nowadays, we know the summer solstice lasts just for an instant but celebrations usually take all day and can easily get you up the whole night. 

Most of these celebrations happen on 21st of June, though the real summer solstice -when a planet’s semi-axis is most inclined towards its star- may take place between the 20th and 22nd, depending on leap year adjustments.

Our ancestors looked up in the sky (no TV back then) and summer solstice was some kind of early Thanksgiving day. It is the time when most crops are harvested and pageants to fertility and abundance happened everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere.

Summer, in nowadays Iran, is considered the cradle of civilization and Tiregân the way they celebrated the summer solstice. This event is celebrated at the beginning of July and it’s related to Tir, an archangel whose arch is believed to bring rain as he appears in the summer night sky.

Tiregân also commemorates a mythological-historical dispute between two realms settled in these lands. An arrow will be thrown every year to determine the borders of each nation, bringing rain and peace to everybody.

Tiregân is becoming a major celebration in Iran and it is all about singing, dancing and having special meals -spinach soup- like most celebration but it also pays tribute to water. Families swim and splash together and they also wear a wrist band with the colors of the rainbow for ten days that is later thrown into a stream.

Though antagonistic at first sight, water and fire combine perfectly with summer solstice mood because it’s a time for renovation, to leave behind what you don’t like and bring new life into yours.

There are places like Ukraine and Russia where they have it all. The Kupala Night is a festivity observed by many Slavic cultures and it serves as a link between old pagan traditions and more modern Christian rites. Kupala Night includes not only singing, dancing and having dinner outdoors but also some sort of baptism, 24th of June it’s St John’s day.

Kupala Night is also the perfect time for love. Whether you’re single and looking to give that up -girls put flowers and candles on rivers to ask for love- or already a couple –you and beloved one must jump over a bonfire while holding hands. Failure to reach the other side so brings tons of bad luck, so think twice.

Summer solstice festivities are huge in Western Europe and they are truly unique and special because they take a little bit from every other tradition to create amazing events you shouldn’t miss, like the Floating Lantern Festival in Poland. Thousands of paper lanterns are released into the sky during the shortest night of the year creating such a magical effect it’s hard to believe until you see it. Best displays happen by the River Warta in Poznan.

No more need for words, just enjoy the video and make sure you book in advance because the city gets crowded with travelers from all over the world. And remember, if you stay with at NH Poznan not only you’ll stay in a historical building in Poznan’s charming downtown but you could also enjoy the Lantern Festival until dawn with our late check-out (up to 5pm).

Photo credit: Ralph Roletscheck 


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