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Celebrate Summer

How summer is celebrated around the world

Published on July 21, 2022 | Last Updated August 05, 2022
A beautiful summer beach scene with float toys and a sign pointing to different countries and cities.

When the days get long and warm, summer is the perfect time to be outside! You can go to the beach or play outdoor sports. Or you can attend the festivals and markets happening every week. 

But what does summer look like in other places? How similar, or different is summer in countries around the world?

Christmas summer

The blossoms of a bright red pohutukawa tree in New Zealand

Many countries celebrate winter from December to February. But did you know there are places where those months are actually summertime? Australia and New Zealand have their hottest months from December to February. It's the exact opposite from the chilly Canadian weather.

Australia is so big that its northern parts can have monsoon rains and floods. But its southern parts are nice and warm! Both countries celebrate a summer Christmas. In New Zealand, the pohutukawa (say "PO-who-too-KAH-wah") tree blooms vibrant red, making it New Zealand’s Christmas tree. 

Time for fireworks

A big multicoloured fireworks display, with several fireworks spreading out in all directions

All over the world from June to August, many countries celebrate big occasions with even bigger fireworks. 

In the U.S., Independence Day is celebrated on July 4. People have get-togethers and enjoy fireworks, barbecues and flag waving. It's a big celebration of all things American. 

In Asakusa, Japan, there's the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival. This festival is nearly 300 years old. That makes it one of the oldest known firework festivals in the world. There's even a friendly competition to see who can do the best firework displays.

Summer solstice

A large bonfire burns bright at night during midsummer festivities in Scandinavia

In places where winters are really long, summer solstices are extra special. The solstice is celebrated on the longest day of the year. It’s the longest day because the sun sets later than on any other day.

In Scandinavia and northern Europe, they have midsummer celebrations. These are colourful events with maypole dancing, bonfires, unique foods and parties. The most famous version of this comes from Sweden.  

Here in Canada, there's the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. This festival celebrates First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures and their achievements.

Water, water and more water

A person sprinkles water on a golden Buddha statue for the Thai New Year

Cooling down in the water is a popular activity all over the world. Especially during the hottest summer months. 

In Thailand, people celebrate Songkran, or Thai New Year, during April. During Songkran, people sprinkle water on the heads of Buddha statues. It's believed this washes away bad luck. They also have one of the biggest water fights in the world. People celebrate by spraying and throwing water at each other!

There are similar celebrations in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar too. The neighbouring city of Jinghong, China, also celebrates with their own Dai Water Splashing Festival.

Another water festival is Vardavar in Armenia. It used to honour the goddess of beauty and water, Astghik. It involved offering her roses and lighting fires. Nowadays, it represents Jesus’s transfiguration in Christianity. 

As you can see, every celebration has a little something in common. Sometimes the occasion is to honour or remember an event. Or it may be just to come together for big and vibrant celebrations. But in the end, everyone wants to get out and have some fun.

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