June 20th will mark the Summer Solstice – most commonly known as the first day of summer for the northern hemisphere. In ancient times, people celebrated the longest day of the year with festivals and rituals. Today, the celebrations are less spiritual and more celebratory to say goodbye to spring and welcome the longer days and warmth of summer.
Here’s a list of a few festivals around the world where you can celebrate the summer solstice.
- Iceland Secret Solstice Festival. In its fourth year, this three-day music festival isn’t so much of a secret anymore. It’ll be held June 16 to 18 this year in the capital Reykjavik, which is also the world’s most northerly city so the sun never fully sets here over the solstice, and the festival takes full advantage. Music plays for 24 hours a day, with 150 bands performing.
- Santa Barbara Solstice Festival. The Summer Solstice Parade began in 1974, first as a birthday celebration for a local artist, but then it joined forces with the city’s Summer Solstice Music Festival. Now the joint event is one of the biggest things the city does, drawing crowds of more than 100,000.
- Inti Raymi Festival. This Incan sun festival is celebrated throughout South America, including in Peru and Ecuador. The festival of music, costumes and food recognizes indigenous cultures throughout the Andes in Cuzco, where the biggest celebrations take place, and in Ingapirca, Ecuador at the site of the largest set of Inca ruins in the country.