Drawing upon ancient and often mystical roots, celebrating summer solstice is a time to honor the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, a day to usher in the summer season, and for many cultures, a day for reverting to raucous celebrations. With amazing gatherings and festivals happening all over the world, why not start off your summer with a trip to one of these amazing celebrations?
TIME SQUARE SOLSTICE
People practicing yoga during the summer solstice in Times Square in New York
New York City is known on the surface for its hustle and bustle which is most true in the buzzing center of the city, Times Square. But on the summer solstice, this all changes. In celebration of International Yoga Day and to honor the longest day of the year, Times Square becomes a truly non-traditional yoga studio. Come join hundreds of others as they stretch, breathe, and connect - right in the center of the city that never sleeps.
SANTA BARBARA SUMMER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
Costumed partiers celebrate the solstice in Santa Barbara
Another U.S.-based solstice celebration is located in Santa Barbara in sunny Southern California. With a vivid and colorful festival spirit, this summer solstice celebration features floats, costumes, music, and food. A summer destination since 1974, with more than 100,000 visitors each year, this seasonal party is non-traditional, wild fun, and absolutely worth a visit.
On the solstice, the sun aligns perfectly with the ancient formation at Stonehenge
Located in rolling green hills of Wiltshire England, Stonehenge rises out of the ground - an ancient circle of stones that have mystified and intrigued the world for centuries. This wild landscape, with the wind whipping through the stones, makes it impossible to visit Stonehenge and not feel the mystic touch of the old world and ancient superstitions. A perfect location for a moody and eerie solstice celebration, Stonehenge attracts all types to see the solstice sun rise and perfectly align within the stones. Those following ancient traditions like druids, pagans, and more flock to this area - along with anyone who wants to experience this awe-inspiring event firsthand.
SOLSTICE AT THE DRAGAICA FAIR BUZAU, ROMANIA
Revelers celebrate the solstice at the Dragaica Fair in Romania
Are you in the mood for another ancient tradition celebrating the gods of old? Then consider visiting Romania and celebrate one of the oldest midsummer rituals. Filled with pagan symbolism, the Dragaica Fair features groups of young women, crowned with bedstraw flowers and dressed in flowing white dresses. The group performs a rain dance around a bride to help please the gods, and to ensure the year will be full of plentiful harvests. Beautiful and steeped in history, this summer solstice 2017 celebration is one you won't want to miss.
SOLSTICE BONFIRES IN AUSTRIA
A fire burns in the hills of Tyrol, Austria
Wild, primal, and filled with ancient power - fire is an element that inspires awe and hearkens back to our prehistoric ancestors. Austria is celebrating summer solstice by lighting massive bonfires on the mountains. This tradition is immensely popular in the Wilder Kaiser region of Tyrol, Austria. Cable cars ferry revelers from peak to peak - allowing for stunning nighttime views of bonfires burning away on majestic peaks. The towns are filled with food, musical events, cruises on lakes, and more. Come to Austria to celebrate summer solstice 2017; it is a trip of a lifetime.
The longest day of the year falls on the summer solstice and in Reykjavik, the sun doesn't set until just after midnight and the sunrise is ready to go the next day at 3 a.m. "Nighttime" is limited even more the further north in Iceland you travel. Good news is, this means more daylight hours to get the most from your excursions. If you decide to journey into the Icelandic wilderness during summertime, there are more hours of light to guide you through whale watching, glacier exploration, and a visit to the famed Blue Lagoon.
A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT DREAM IN SWEDEN
After battling the dark and cold of a harsh, Scandinavian winter, you can only imagine how ready the Swedish are to celebrate summer. Midsummer's Eve is one of the most important traditions in Sweden and is considered a full-blown holiday with festivals and celebration to welcome in the solstice. Feel the local spirit as you embark on a journey that includes the region's capital cities. Taste your way through Copenhagen's culinary delights; enjoy the literary history of Stockholm; and have enough leisure time to take part in the summer celebrations.
Wherever your travels may take you, seek out a summer solstice celebration this year and enjoy connecting with the ancient tradition of welcoming in the summer.