Catch the world's best festivals this June
Posted on Saturday 12 May 2012
in China, England, Spain
By Rory MacTavish
The world is a stage for incredible cultural, musical and athletic festivals that bridge political and social boundaries between nations. From the Summer Olympic Games in London, the most anticipated event of this year, to the more obscure traditional celebrations such as Spain's El Colacho, the religious baby-jumping festival, 2012 is ramping up to be an unforgettable time for international travellers. Globetrotters hitting the road this June may want to plan their holiday around some of these unforgettable celebrations.
Duanwu Jie: The original site of the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival
Over the centuries, dragon boat racing has become popular around the world, though many do not know about its historical significance. In 278 B.C., the poet Qu Yuan threw himself into the waters in protest against the Qin dynasty. Villagers flocked to the water and beat the surface with paddles to keep fish and evil spirits away from his body, while those on the shore threw rice in the water to honor Qu's sacrifice.
Thousands of years later, the Hunan province in China continues to memorialize the man by pitting hundreds of dragon boats against each other as they race along rivers. Travellers taking flights to Beijing in early June should look up times to see when and where various communities will be hosting their own Duanwu Jie.
Celebrate the summer solstice at Stonehenge
When the sun first hits directly overhead on June 21, thousands of people will be present at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, to pay homage to the summer solstice. Scientists and archaeologists are still baffled as to how prehistoric cultures constructed the site, which contains massive rocks found almost 400 kilometres away.
During the summer solstice, travellers who take flights to London can join in the ritualistic celebrations, complete with impromptu music performances, drum circles and hippie-like activities.
Watch El Colacho, Spain's Baby-Jumping Festival
Babies are the star of the show during the El Colacho Festival in Castrillo de Murcia, Spain. This bizarre event has taken place since 1620, when townspeople first started to customarily jump over newborn infants to rid them of evil spirits. Organised by the Santisimo Sacramento de Minerva brotherhood, the celebrations take place over a few days following Corpus Christi, a Christian feast holiday.
Visitors should beware - members of the brotherhood randomly chase people throughout the town during the day.
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