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June Festivals

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We're taking a brief halt in our Stamp safari to do a quick trip around the world's festivals in June. Many of them celebrate the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and others in the Southern Hemisphere.

We kick off in St Petersburg, Russia with the White Nights Festival that celebrates midsummer when the sun hardly sets. The Scarlet Sails ship is the iconic motif of this celebration. the event is a tribute to the Russian children’s tale ‘Scarlet Sails’ and was started when several Leningrad schools united to celebrate the end of term. You can expect extraordinary fireworks, a concert and a massive water show while an incredibly illuminated boat with red sails pass through.

Far across the Atlantic ocean and over the Andes every June 24th, Cusco reenacts the Inca Festival of the Sun, complete with a procession from the Qorikancha (Inca Sun Temple) to the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, with an address by the Sapa Inca in Quechua from a golden tower in the Plaza de Armas.

Año Nuevo Aymara (Aymara New Year) celebrates the start of a new agricultural cycle, the winter solstice, and the Aymara new year. Each year colorful ceremonies take place across the Altiplano and throughout Bolivia – offerings are given in thanks to Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and the sun so that there will be a good harvest in the coming year. It is a day filled with ceremonial clothing, drinking singani, chewing coca, sacrificing llamas and dancing until dawn.

In Britain Stonehenge is the centre of the Druid faith that has been resurrected. The Chief Druid of Britain leads the Summer Solstice rituals at the greatest of the stone circles. A far more worldly affair is the weeklong Ascot Races attended by the Royal Family, blueboods and commoners. The best bloodstock is in racing form and fortunes are won and lost on the track.

Firenza (Florence) in Italy celebrates Festa Da San Giovanni - the feast day for its patron saint, St. John the Baptist, considered the "symbol of moral rectitude and political correctness" whom medieval Florence aspired to emulate. A day of fantastic events, for example, Calcio Storico, a parade in historic dress and firework that will take your breath away!

In the United States the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, established in 1967, honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.This year it is the turn of the Catalans and Armenians to showcase their cultures with cooking, singing, dancing, folk traditional crafts and language.

Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival has been celebrated for 28 years in Oklahoma City. Native Americans from all over the continent gather for a week of dancing, singing and handwork competitions. The costumes are gaudily gorgeous and the parade is great to watch.

Duanwu Jie - Dragon Boat Festival - is celebrated in Shangai but also many other cities with large Chinese populations. The boats are art work masterpieces and as I have a son who is a rower I have some idea of the work and practice that goes into making those boats shoot across the water in syncophated rhythm. Physical aptitude, team work, discipline and the ability to withstand pain are pre-requisites for any rower.

India can't be left out of course but this month I've only featured two of the many festivals as Indian festivals have dominated the last couple of months puzzles. The Rath Yatra or the Chariot Festival is one of the main festival and attraction of Puri, in the state of Orissa. Sindhu Darshan Festival is one of the leading events in Ladakh.

All these festivals are bright, colourful and reach deep into the antiquity of human cultures across the world. Human beings are incredibly diverse and talented at making beauty, fun and faith into part of the huge tapestry of life.
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You do have a lot of festivals Wendy. My brother is a great one for packing the kids into a camper van and heading off for a weekend at one. They have had lots of fun doing it. Glad it made you smile. Send my congratulations and good wishes to your husband. It is a big milestone but life can still be lots of fun - mine is seven over that mark and still hale, hearty and humorous! Jayne

Have been away staying near the coast for a few days to celebrate husbands 70th so a bit of catching up to do. I have been smiling reading some of the comments. When we were younger we travelled around the UK to some of our many festivals, goose fair, rolling Christmas puddings to name a couple. It was lots of fun. Thanks as always for another great puzzle Jayne. Wendy x


Hi Marlene and Molly, I'm sure that some people do travel the world doing that - it takes tolerance for crowds, dirt and really bad toilet facilities - the last is what would get to me. In Afrikaans we have a saying for someone who fusses and worries -'soos 'n tannie met 'n nat broek' - that was my experience of travelling in Europe so how I would cope with Asia and India I have no idea. Marlene can probably translate the Afrikaans but I'll do it Molly and anyone else who might read this. It means - like an auntie with wet panties!! Nuff said. Jayne


Marlene's Fantasy made me laugh !! Great worldwide festivals and information about them, all so colorful. They make a fun puzzle. I can have fun and avoid the crowds by doing your puzzle !!!!!


I was having a fantasy. If you would follow all the festivals all over the world meaning you were always partying. You should have money and be young I guess because it would be hell for me. Thanks Jayne.


Hi Janit and Sandy, we'll be back to the stamps, don't worry. I think that most people really enjoy the occasional blow out party with lots of others around. In real life I could do it for a limited time and then the noise and press of bodies becomes too much and I just want out! It is fun to see others enjoying themselves. Glad you had fun with it. Jayne

Such beautiful and colorful pictures in this puzzle. One thing all the festivals seem to have in common is the large number of people who partake in the celebrations. They all have such joy and happiness on their faces. It's a pleasure just to look at them. Thanks. Sandy

Thank you for the puzzle but I miss the stamps and the travel through them.

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