Summer weather brings people together outside to enjoy music festivals, county fairs, carnivals and religious observations. I've gathered here some recent images of these celebrations, including a flaming horseman in Kyrgyzstan, Bastille Day in France, a German fun park inside a former nuclear power plant, and much more. [39 photos]
A girl on her father's shoulders looks through a maze of sunflowers growing in a field during a three-day sunflower festival in the town of Nogi, Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, on July 24, 2011. A total of some 200,000 sunflowers welcomed guests for the summer festival, an annual draw for the small town.
(Kazuhuro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)
A monk wearing a mask performs a dance on the first day of two-day festival in Hemis Gompa, 45 km (28 miles) southeast of Leh, on July 10, 2011. The Hemis Gompa is the oldest and biggest monastery in Ladakh. The annual festival celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Lamaism (an off-shoot of Buddhism) in the eighth century. The two-day festival is marked by ritual dancing in which dancers wear masks representing deities and evil spirits.
(Reuters/Fayaz Kabli) #
People dressed in traditional Breton costumes take part in the annual Fete du Goemon (Seaweed Festival) near Esquibien in western Brittany, on July 24, 2011. The festival re-enacts traditional means of gathering seaweed from the coast and burning it in open kilns to make fertilizer.
(Reuters/Mal Langsdon) #
A herd of ponies makes their way towards shore during the Chincoteague Wild Pony Swim on Wednesday, July 27, 2011. The ponies swim from Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to Chincoteague Island, Virginia, to be sold at auction to benefit the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.
(AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Brad Vest) #
People walk past lanterns during the annual Mitama festival at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, on July 13, 2011. About 3,000 paper lanterns are lit to comfort the souls of dead during the annual four day festival at the shrine where more than 2.4 million war dead are enshrined.
(Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon) #
The scenery for the opera "Andre Chenier" by Italian musician Umberto Giordano is seen on a giant floating stage at Lake Constance during a photo rehearsal in Bregenz, Austria, on July 15, 2011. The opera, directed by British director Keith Warner, will have its premiere on July 20 at the annual Bregenz festival.
(Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler) #
Folk artists perform as part of their prayers inside the Jagannath temple on the eve of the Rath Yatra, also known as the "the Chariot Festival", in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, on July 2, 2011. The annual religious procession commemorates a journey by Hindu god Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, in specially made chariots.
(Reuters/Amit Dave) #
Dancers take the stage at the Guelaguetza, a nine-day folkloric festival celebrating Oaxaca state's seven cultural regions through dance, parades and pageantry, in Oaxaca, Mexico, on July 25, 2011. Guelaguetza means "offering" in the Mexican Indian Zapotec language, and historians believe different versions of the festival have been celebrated since pre-Colonial times.
(Reuters/Jorge Luis Plata) #
Kayapo Indians stand in a line during a ritual dance in a multiethnic village during the Meeting of Traditional Cultures of Chapada dos Veadeiros in Goias, Brazil, on July 23, 2011. The meeting is a celebration of Brazilian popular culture and the intersection between the various manifestations of traditional culture around the midwest and across the country.
(Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino) #
An Indian Muslim girl offers prayers at a graveyard during Shab-e-Barat in Gauhati, India, on July 17, 2011. Muslims visit ancestral graveyards for the salvation of the departed souls and also believe that all sins will be forgiven by praying to Allah throughout Shab-e-Barat night.
(AP Photo/ Anupam Nath) #
A woman hides her face as other festival-goers spray mud at her after she infringed a game rule in a mud ring during the 14th Boryeong Mud Festival at Daecheon beach in Boryeong, South Korea, on July 17, 2011. Around 2 to 3 million domestic and international tourists visit the beach during the festival each year to enjoy mud activities such as mud slides, mud wrestling and mud massages.
(Reuters/Jo Yong-Hak) #
A carnival ride turns inside of the cooling tower of a former nuclear power plant in Kalkar, Germany, near the border with the Netherlands, on May 28, 2011. The plant was constructed from 1977 to 1986, but never operated as a nuclear power plant. Now the plant has been converted to a fun park called "Wunderland Kalkar" and receives some 600,000 visitors a year.
(Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images) #
Horsemen take part in a Kok-boru, or goat dragging, competition as they attend a festival of Kyrgyz folklore and popular traditions near the Son-Kul lake, on July 21, 2011. Considered Kyrgyzstan's national sport, Kok-boru is a traditional Central Asian game where players grab a goat carcass from the ground while riding their horses and try to score by placing it in their opponent's goal.
(Reuters/Vladimir Pirogov) #
Hot-air balloons take off during the first day of the Lorraine World Air Balloons festival, on July 22, 2011 in the French city of Chambley. The festival is the biggest gathering of hot-air balloons in the world and about 400,000 spectators were expected to attend the event.
(Jean-Christophe Verhaegan/AFP/Getty Images) #
A hot air balloon rises into the early morning sky in front of the Canary Wharf financial district of London, on July 25, 2011. Seven balloons took part in the flight over London as part of a collaboration between the London Sky Orchestra project, the 30th anniversary of the London International Festival of Theatre, and the Greater London Authority which is marking a year to go before the 2012 Olympic Games.
(Reuters/Andrew Winning) #