Sun Is HIGH In New York City!

There seem to be four big Summer Solstice celebrations happening in the city annually (please comment if you know of others!). For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, “solstice” means basically “the highest point”. It’s usually used referring to the day of the year when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, which is also of course the longest day, (Summer Solstice), and the day of the year when the sun reaches its lowest point (or more clearly said, the highest point that it will reach that day is the lowest point compared with how high it gets other days) and there is the longest time of darkness, (Winter Solstice). Solstices are celebrated throughout the world in many cultures, however in the U.S. they’re not generally celebrated. But, the big melting pot New York is certainly different!
The four big celebrations we found are:

  1. Traditional Swedish Midsummer Celebration in Battery Park. This is the one we decided to go to. It was great. Most of the people there were Swedish or Scandenavian, as evidenced not only by the overheard languages, but the abundunce of tall, beautiful, blond girls. Many wore garlands of flowers in their hair. There were food stands from Swedish restaurants around the city selling things like elderberry sodas, the old favourite of Swedish meatballs, Swedish pancakes, and salmon. They had a maypole up and there was a fully traditionaly clad Swedish folk music group and dancing group. It was really fun to watch the group dancing – the public got involved and people gathered in a thick circle around the maypole, doing led traditional dances, one of which involved acting like frogs and hopping around :) .
  2. Paul Winter’s Annual Summer Solstice Celebration at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Looks like this one unfortunately was cancelled this year, but otherwise it looks like it would be great. Musicians from around the world perform “Earth music”. I imagine the acoustics in the cathedral would make it exceptionally good.
  3. Summer Solstice Celebration at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens is a family-fun event, featuring not only a live performance by the Main Squeeze Orchestra, but also face painting and art making workshops. Food is available.
  4. Solstice in Times Square had their 1st annual celebration. The reasoning was, there’s kind of a winter solstice celebration there already… kind of… (New Year’s), so shouldn’t we have a Summer Solstice celebration, too? This new festival included some Dixieland, Classical, and Jazz musicians, “Mind over Madness” yoga at noon, and the Amature Astronomers Association of New York offering telescope views of the sun and information on solstices and equinoxes.

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