Thousands Celebrate Winter Solstice At Stonehenge

Thousands Gather To Celebrate Pagan Holiday It’s one of the most important occasions in the Pagan calendar, with people allowed up close to the stones themselves. Winter Solstice celebrates...

Thousands Gather To Celebrate Pagan Holiday

It’s one of the most important occasions in the Pagan calendar, with people allowed up close to the stones themselves. Winter Solstice celebrates the end of the longest night of the year, with the sunrise occurring at 8:09 am on Saturday December 22nd.

It’s also one of the few occasions we can also go inside the stone circle. 5,000 visitors went along to mark the occasion – making the most of the mild, dry weather and Solstice falling on a weekend too.

This year’s Winter Solstice is also a poignant one, at the end of a year of celebrations to mark the centenary of Stonehenge itself being gifted to the United Kingdom by Cecil and Mary Chubb. English Heritage put out a plea to revellers before the event, asking them to ‘respect the stones and each other’ while taking part in Solstice.

Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Council work closely with English Heritage to make sure it passes off peacefully. But what exactly is the winter solstice and why do so many people care about it?

On the simplest level, it is the shortest day of the year. After this night, the days will slowly start to get lighter and longer. This comes as a great relief to those who are sick of how early it has been getting dark.

Technically, the solstice marks the moment the sun shines overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn – the most southerly latitude that this happens. This occurs on a different date each year, falling between December 20 and 23.

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