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Summer Around the World: Festivals and Holidays
CareFinder's community of sitters represents sixty countries across six continents, showcasing incredibly diverse cultures and experiences. This diversity is part of what sets CareFinder apart: a multicultural perspective and high-quality, bilingual sitters from around the world, all in the comfort of your own home here in Japan!
We want to shine a spotlight on a few of the countries our sitters represent with a look at their unique summer traditions. Today, we'll introduce you to holidays and festivals.
Dating back as far as the 11th century, the Hamburg DOM, a month-long festival, was originally held in a cathedral as merchants and entertainers took refuge in the winter. Once the cathedral was demolished in the 1800s, the fair moved outdoors and, over time, added spring and summer dates. Now the DOM ("dom" is German for cathedral) is the largest open-air festival in Northern Germany and the longest-running fair in the country.
This year's summer DOM will be held from 26 July to 25 August and includes roller coasters, a Ferris wheel and all the very best festival foods.
The French celebrate La Fete National, or as it's known to the non-French, Bastille Day, on 14 July. Commemorating the day in 1789 when French Revolutionaries stormed the Bastille (a Parisian fortress), this holiday includes a military parade down the Champs-Elysees, fireworks and dance parties at fire stations throughout the city, called Firemen's Balls.
Though it's called the "Mid-Autumn" festival, this colorful celebration technically takes place in late summer. This year it will be held on 13 September. Originally celebrated in honor of a bountiful harvest, the festival today is still marked by elaborate displays of tasty food, as well as plentiful lanterns. Children participate in parades, dressed in masks depicting both historical Vietnamese people as well as modern characters like Pikachu and Spongebob.
Three holidays are summertime traditions in the States. The "unofficial" start to the season is the last Monday in May, called Memorial Day and meant to honor members of the military who have died in service to the country. Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, celebrates the United States' independence from England in 1776. Labor Day, observed on the first Monday in September, recognizes the role of the labor movement in the country's growth and prosperity. It is also the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of the new school year for many students.
All three are public holidays and are usually celebrated with picnics, barbecues and fireworks.
In many places throughout the country, thousands of yoga practitioners will meet on the Summer Solstice (21 June) to practice in large group sessions. This is in honor of the first yogi, Adiyogi, who is said to have met his disciple on the Summer Solstice. After lobbying from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the day was also declared "International Day of Yoga" in 2015. This year's event is expected to draw more than 50,000 participants to Ranchi, Jharkand.
Celebrated on 12 June since 1992, Russia Day marks the date the nation became independent following the end of the Soviet Union. Many large cities throughout the country organize big celebrations for all citizens to enjoy. It's a public holiday and festivities include concerts, kids activities and fireworks. Additionally, televised award ceremonies and a President's Address are broadcast nationwide in the evening.
Because it's in the southern hemisphere, Australia is actually in the midst of its winter currently. That doesn't mean the celebrations are put on pause, though!
The second Monday in June is the Queen's Birthday (except in Queensland and Western Australia, where it's celebrated in October and September, respectively). While not the actual day of the Queen's birth (which is 21 April), it is a public holiday and, in New South Wales,also coincides with Vivid Sydney, a massive three-week long festival throughout the city.
Now in its 12th year, the Bayimba International Festival of the Arts is Uganda's largest festival and a great showcase for Ugandan music, film, dance and theater. The event is scheduled for three days in early August on Lunkulu island, a largely uninhabited island in Lake Victoria about 40km from the country's capital, Kampala.
Previous festivals had more than 300 artists, primarily Ugandan but also from other East African countries and abroad, and 55,000 attendees.
There may be many different reasons for celebration around the world throughout the summer, but many of us celebrate in very similar ways (just like in Japan, people love fireworks)! CareFinder's sitters make wonderful cultural ambassadors, sharing perspectives from their home countries with your family and broadening horizons for your children. Find the sitter for your family today!