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Top 10 Summer Solstice Celebrations Worldwide

May 25, 2016 03:02PM ● By Ryan Frisch

The summer solstice is celebrated in a variety of ways across the globe. From sky gazing in Croatia to sun salutations in Times Square, here are’s top places to enjoy the longest day of the year.

1. Secret Solstice Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland

An Icelandic sunset on the solstice is around midnight and sunrise is a little before 3am. Iceland’s Secret Solstice Midnight Sun Music Festival is a three-day music festival with electronic, hip-hop, rock, and reggae acts that takes advantage of the 72 hours of sunlight.

2. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England

Neolithic builders created the massive stone structure with primitive tools made from wood and deer antlers. Today, the summer solstice draws a mix of druids, pagans, and miscellaneous revelers to witness the sun rising above the stone circle, which aligns perfectly with the summer solstice sunrise.

3. Solstice in Times Square, New York, New York, United States

Solstice in Times Square, a day-long yoga event now in its 13th year, begins at 7 am on the solstice and continues until just before sunset. Adding to the excitement, the day has also been named International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly.

4. Solstice Fires, Tyrol, Austria

Lighting mountain fires to mark the solstice is an Alpine tradition that dates back to medieval times when native tribes used the mystical fires to worship the earth. There are many places to celebrate, including a cruise on Lake Achensee or musical and culinary events amid the backdrop of Innsbruck’s Nordkette Mountains.

5. Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Held at Vincent Massey Park, the three-day event includes traditional dance, music, and storytelling to celebrate the solstice, as well as the area’s aboriginal culture.

6. Wianki, Krakow, Poland

Eastern Europe celebrates the solstice with Kupala, a Slavic holiday with pagan roots. Head to Krakow, Poland, for Wianki, a day of music and revelry, with acts ranging from contemporary rock and electro pop to classical and traditional. Expect a day of music and celebration—and, as was also the case in pagan times, a whole lot of revelers in flower crowns.

7. Festival of Saint Joan, Menorca, Spain

Combining a celebration of the summer solstice with the birth of St. John the Baptist, the Festival of St. Joan has become an amalgamation of Christian tradition and pagan ritual. While Barcelona is a celebratory hot spot, trade the city experience for a memorable solstice on the island of Menorca.

8. Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration, Santa Barbara, California, United States

This Southern California event has been a summer staple since 1974 and it attracts more than 100,000 visitors from around the world with its colorful floats, festive costumes, and a variety of music.

9. Midsummer, Stockholm, Sweden

One of the most important events of the year in Sweden, midsommar is a day of indulgence. Topped with wildflower wreaths, Swedes nosh on pickled herring, cured salmon, and potatoes, and drink flavored schnapps. Complete the scene with a dance around a maypole decked out in flowers and greenery.

10. Astrofest, Istria, Croatia

Amateur astronomers and star-gazing enthusiasts converge on the famous astronomical Višnjan Observatory. The event is a unique and magical way to celebrate the solstice, combining science and spirituality, celestial sky gazing, and New Age music, drum circles, and performances.

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