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Summer Solstice 2020: How Some Countries Celebrate The Longest Day of The Year

People might not be able to gather and celebrate as they usually do due to the coronavirus.

Published: June 16, 2020 3:37 PM IST

By Staff | Edited by Dianne Nongrum

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Stonehenge in the UK. Photo Courtesy: Instagram/@wanderawaywithsirikay

The longest day of the year is just around the corner, and it is a time when people in different parts of the world get together and celebrate. Depending on the calendar, the Summer Solstice happens somewhere between June 20 and June 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and this year it falls on June 21.

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Though countries celebrate the day differently, this year with the COVID-19 pandemic playing spoilsport, the festivities might not be as lavish as they used to be. But we can take a look at how the day has been celebrated by countries located in the Northern Hemisphere in the years gone by, which is the traditional way of celebration according to

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The Danish Way:

Fire plays an important role in almost all celebrations, with the central belief being that it deters evil spirits. During the midsummer celebrations, a huge bonfire is lit and the figure of a witch, usually made from straw and cloth, is placed on top. As per Danish folklore, the witches convene on solstice night on Bloksbjerg, the Brocken mountain, and the fire can scare them away.

The Swedish Way:

Collecting of herbs and summer flowers in the evening of the solstice figures largely, with the tradition based on fertility and the quest to find a wife or a husband. The flowers and herbs are either hung in doorways or left in water overnight and used during a wash the next morning. In Norway and Sweden, the flowers are placed under the pillow of a young girl with the belief they will make her dream of her future love.

Apart from that, female ‘sorceresses’ and ‘enchantresses’ gather herbs at sunrise as it is believed that medicinal and magical herbs have more potency before dawn. The herbs are then used for curing and also to make charms.

The European Way:

The solstice celebrations vary from country to country but one of the main reasons is the Christian marking of Saint John the Baptist’s birth. Apart from that people in Brazil also celebrate marital union by erecting a a pau-de-sebo (maypole), build bonfires, dance and collect flowers. In some places, men dress up as farm boys with large straw hats, while women wear pigtails, freckles, painted gap teeth and red-checkered dresses in tribute to everything Brazilian. In Portugal, people decorate the streets with balloons and other brightly coloured nick-nacks, for holding parties.

Ancient Rituals at Stonehenge:

The Stonehenge in the UK has always been a place of awe among the people, with the huge ring of standing stones. New-age druids gather together and perform rituals, dance and songs at the monument. Another structure that sees a similar gathering is the Gate of the Sun stone monolith in Bolivia, South America. Both the places are shrouded in mystery making them perfect for the rituals their contemporary visitors hold.

As said earlier, people might not be able to gather and celebrate as they usually do due to the coronavirus, but Stonehenge will be broadcasting live for Summer Solstice from the location and having a live event.

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Published Date: June 16, 2020 3:37 PM IST