AMS: Summer Solstice in Our Diverse World

June 1, 2021

AMS Fulfillment has long been committed to diversity in hiring, promotion, education and corporate culture. Learning about diverse peoples and cultural celebrations around the world is a part of our commitment as a B Corporation. We hope you enjoy our blogs that feature the many different holidays, languages, foods, ways of dress, systems of belief and cultural celebrations in Our Diverse World. 

We are heading toward the longest day of the year. June 20, 2021 will be summer solstice in the Northern hemisphere, occurring at 11:32 P.M. EDT. The Northern solstice is the time when the North Pole is most inclined toward the sun. Also called Midsummer and Festival Solstice, it is celebrated in countries across the hemisphere and has been celebrated as far back as history takes us.

From Wikipedia we find the following: “Since prehistory, the summer solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures and has been marked by festivals and rituals. Traditionally, in many temperate regions (especially Europe), the summer solstice is seen as the middle of summer and referred to as “midsummer”. Today, however, in some countries and calendars it is seen as the beginning of summer.”

Let’s look at the way our shared ‘longest day’ is celebrated in this diverse world. From a summer solstice blog we find descriptions of the top 15 solstice festivals. Below we’ll look at our favorites from that list. We’ll begin with Stonehenge, visit India and NY, go to Alaska and Russia and end up at Santa Barbara, California.

Sunrise at Stonehenge, England

On Summer solstice people from UK and from the world gather at Stonehenge to see the sunrise. All stand looking towards northeast, while sun is about to rise. The sun appears exactly above the Heel Stone (one of the stones outside the circle). The crowd silently witnesses the moment, which is a unique feeling, connecting them with a long and mysterious history. This year sun is going to rise on June 20, at 04:51 AM in Amesbury. The Stonehenge celebration is a four-day event from 18th to 21st of June.

Yoga in India & Times Square NY

People in India celebrate Summer solstice with mass yoga sessions due to a belief that the first yogi, Adiyogi, met his disciple on Summer solstice. Thousands of yogis gather in different cities of India and practice yoga, paying a salute to sun, as summer starts. This is done for strength, happiness, love, forgiveness and for correcting mistakes done in past. The United Nations General Assembly declared June 21 International Day of Yoga on December 11 2014.

The International Day of Yoga is also celebrated by doing yoga in New York City’s Times Square. Thousands of yoga lovers gather at around 7 AM to start practicing yoga and continue until the sun sets.

Alaska and the Midnight Sun

Alaska is near to the Arctic and the people get extended days of 22 hours straight light in the summer. The start of summer and the longest day of the year is celebrated with a variety of activities for all ages. The celebrations take place from June 20 to June 22 every year. Downtown Anchorage turns into a party with musicians, artists and performers. There is also a Mayor’s Marathon in which enthusiasts run Anchorage’s best trails. In Fairbanks the Alaska Goldpanners play a game on the Summer solstice during the midnight sun. This is a Fairbanks ritual started in 1906.

St. Petersburg, Russia and the Scarlet Sails

In St. Petersburg from May 27, to July 16 the sun doesn’t fully set on the horizon. These days and nights are termed as “white nights and breezy days”. White nights events date back to when Peter the Great founded the city.

The Scarlet Sails festival is the famous St. Petersburg Solstice event. In past years more than three million visitors have come to the celebration to see the Scarlet Sails boats accompanied by a theatrical performance and multimedia musical performance at the Palace Square. This is the most romantic moment of the festival.

Summer Solstice Parade, Santa Barbara

This is a three-day event on the occasion of summer solstice in Santa Barbara that has been celebrated every year since 1974. Santa Barbara holds a solstice parade with giant puppets, extravagant costumes, and beautiful floats on parade route. The events have attracted more than 100,000 spectators from all across the globe. Every year the celebration has a theme and this year’s theme is “Wonder”.

Readers can visit the Summer Solstice blog HERE.