Yhyakh, the Summer Solstice New Year Celebration

While we are going into official summer with temperatures in the 90s, we might cool off a bit by thinking of Yakutsk, in the Yakutia region of Siberia. It’s the coldest city in the world. But on the Summer Solstice, Yakutsk will double its population of 200,000 people as many others around the region join in celebrating Yhyakh, which marks the new year.

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When we are celebrating a new year on January first, Yakutia only has a couple of hours of daylight and it’s too cold to go anywhere. But in June, the Summer Solstice brings all-day sun and the couple hours of night aren’t even all that dark. For hundreds of years, maybe even thousands, people of the Sakha culture mark Yhyakh as the new year, the start of the short summer season when laying in supplies for the winter has to be done in a hurry. People join together to sing, dance, light a fire, and make offerings to the gods. Yhyakh is also a time for young people to “meet, court, and marry.” The revelry goes on all night and ends only with a sunrise celebration. Celebrating Yhyakh was forbidden during the Soviet era, but is making a comeback, both in Yakutia and in Sakha enclaves elsewhere. Read about this holiday at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Dziulita05)

Source: neatorama

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