Summer Holidays Celebrated Around The World

Although the summer season is usually a time for relaxation, a bit more sunshine and a break from school, there is still so much to learn and explore during the summer months. For multicultural families wanting to instill a sense of global citizenship in their children, learning about the diverse summer holidays celebrated around the world can be a fun way to explore summer traditions.

Help your kids develop a sense of global citizenship by exploring these summer holidays celebrated around the world together.

The Longest Day: Summer Solstice

Summer solstice usually happens between June 20th and 22nd. It marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Although many countries celebrate summer solstice, midsummer celebrations look differently all around the world.

  1. At the North Pole and the Arctic Circle, the sun doesn’t set at all during the summer solstice. They both have 24 hours of daylight.
  2. Many ancient structures, like the Egyptian pyramids, Peru’s 13 Towers, and Mexico’s Chichén Itzá are all aligned with the solstices.
  3. In Scandinavia, Midsummer midsummer’s eve is celebrated by dancing around a maypole, lighting bonfires, and even wearing a wreath of flowers in your hair.

Wianki Festival in Krakow, Poland

In Krakow, Poland, they celebrate the start of summer in a big way. During this annual event, the streets are filled with people, music and flowers galore. The celebration usually happens at the end of June, on the shortest night of the year. 

Wianki means ‘wreaths’ in Polish. Traditionally, unmarried young women would wear the wreaths while singing around a bonfire. Then, she would send her wreath down the stream. What happened to the wreath was believed to predict her future.

Now it is more of a celebration full of concerts, flowers, fireworks, and wreath-making for all.

Night of Fire in Barcelona, Spain

The Night of Fire is a combination of ancient summer solstice traditions and a celebration of the birth of John the Baptist. He was said to have been born on June 24th so the celebration takes place on June 23rd, the eve of his birth.

This Spanish festival combines beach days with and lighting bonfires along the beach and setting off fireworks at night. The holiday commemorates the unity and resilience of the Catalan community as the bonfires represent the ever-lasting flame of their cultural heritage.

The Season of “White Nights” in St. Petersburg, Russia

In St. Petersburg, Russia, they enjoy the phenomenon of almost 24 hours of twilight from late May to early July. Since the city is so far north, the sun barely sets—it doesn’t go far enough below the horizon for the city to become completely dark.

People celebrate these “white nights” with festivals and concerts that last all night long. It all culminates with the Scarlet Sails celebration, a spectacular show of fireworks and a tall ship with bright red sails passing through Neva River, inspired by Alexander Grin’s fairy tale “Scarlet Sails”.

Aomori Nebuta Matsuri Festival in Japan

This colorful festival is held between August 2-7 in Aomori City, Japan. Every year, more than 3 million people come to see the festival.

People come from all over to see the daily parades of huge lantern floats being pushed down the street, surrounded by big taiko drums, musicians, and dancers. The ornate floats take the whole year to build. Floats often represent gods, historical figures from Japanese and Chinese cultures, kabuki actors, and even characters from the popular TV shows.

Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival in Japan

Aomori Nebuta Matsura isn’t the only summer tradition in Japan. On the last Saturday of July, the Sumida River lights up with fireworks.

It is said to have started back in 1733, making it he oldest fireworks festival on record. This summer tradition was started by the 8th shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune to pray for an end of the famine and keep evil spirits away. More than a million people come to see this vibrant celebration each year.

Hungry Ghost Festival in China

The Hungry Ghost Festival is a unique tradition held in China during the seventh lunar month. This generally falls between July and August on the western calendar. It is believed that at the beginning of the month, the gates of hell are opened and spirits are allowed to roam free. However, this summer holiday is not just about fending off malicious ghosts. It’s also a time of reflection and remembrance of ancestors who have passed away.

At the beginning of Hungry Ghost Month, people burn fake money and leave out food as offerings for the ghosts. The celebration peaks on the 15th day, when families perform special ceremonies to keep the ghosts happy.

The may burn incense near their family’s ancestral tablets and leave out plates of food for the ghosts. Many families also gather to feast in the evening. Some may leave a seat open to represent ancestors who have passed away.

Krishna Janmashtami in India

This Hindu holiday celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna and is one of the biggest religious celebrations in the world. The celebration usually takes place between August and September and can look a variety of different ways.

Some people will visit Vaishnava temples. There they can spend time in prayer and fasting or watch dramas and dancing that represent parts of Krishna’s life.

If they don’t live near a temple, people may decorate their homes and invite friends and family to celebrate together.

Independence Day: A Time for Freedom

Summer is also a season of independence celebrations worldwide. Here are just a few of the many countries who celebrate their freedom between the months of July and September:

  • Canada – July 1st
  • United States – July 4th
  • France – July 14th (Bastille Day)
  • Pakistan – August 14th
  • India – August 15th
  • Indonesia – August 17th
  • Brazil – September 7th
  • Mexico – September 16th
  • Chile – September 18th

Although the celebrations may look slightly different in each country, they all share a feeling of pride for their country’s freedom and independence.

International Day of Friendship

Last but not least on this list of summer celebrations around the world, we have the International Day of Friendship. The UN declared July 30th the International Day of Friendship to promote the idea that friendship between people groups, across countries and cultures can inspire peace and help make the world a better place.

So, as you are enjoying your own summer celebrations this year, why not take the time to learn about some new summer traditions, connect with friends new and old and show your kids the joy that comes with learning about summertime celebrations around the world.


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Vanessa is a life-long lover of culture, language, and diversity. However, when her bilingual, bicultural child began having questions and doubts about his own identity and heritage, she realized she had to learn how to actively pass on her love of diversity. She set off on a quest to help her own family and other families around the world learn to love our differences today so that we can give our children a better tomorrow. Join us in paving the way toward a better future at familiesembracingdiversity.com

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