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Summer solstice sparks celebrations


Summer solstice sparks celebrations

Midsummer has been marked in Finland amid revelry and ritual. Bonfires were lit in a tradition originally linked to fertility and the banishment of evil spirits.

The custom could not keep the rain away from Seurasaari Island near Helsinki. But that did not dampen enthusiasm for a time of year that triggers the start of summer holidays for many Finns.

Think of the summer solstice and Stonehenge is likely to spring to mind. There, too, celebrations took place, despite the presence of the wet stuff.

In the highest turnout for five years, some 30,000 people gathered at the ancient stone circle in southern England to see the sunrise.

Hippies and druids were among those assembled. But the mystical and spiritual element is not the only attraction, with many people simply keen to share in the moment, make new friends, and have a good time.