Thousands celebrate Winter Solstice at Stonehenge


Blackleaf
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Colourful crowds welcomed the winter solstice at Stonehenge this morning as the sun rose for the shortest day in the year.

Hundreds of people gathered at the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, hugging the stones to mark the occasion that is often associated with rebirth...


WINTER WONDER Thousands celebrate Winter Solstice at Stonehenge as crowds hug the stones on shortest day of the year

Brittany Vonow
22 Dec 2019
The Sun On Sunday

COLOURFUL crowds welcomed the winter solstice at Stonehenge this morning as the sun rose for the shortest day in the year.

Hundreds of people gathered at the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, hugging the stones to mark the occasion that is often associated with rebirth.

A woman wearing a red flower crown joins the crowds to mark the winter solstice at Stonehenge Credit: PA:Press Association

Hundreds of people gathered at the scene for the longest night of the year Credit: PA:Press Association


A man closes his eyes as he takes a moment during the celebrations Credit: PA:Press Association

Despite the morning chill - with temperatures reaching barely 6C at 8am - the crowds flocked to the site for the morning.

Donning flower crowns, white robes and colourful vests, the gathering played music and danced to bring in the sun rise.

Many others placed their heads on the Stonehenge rock as the morning beams began to radiate over the structure.

One child was seen playing a drum for the occasion, while others played didgeridoos and held hands.

The winter solstice is most notably associated with the druids who mark the start of the solar year with a celebration of light and the rebirth of the sun.

This year's winter solstice saw the sun rise at 8.04am, with it expected to set at 3.54pm.

It means there will be sunlight for just seven hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds.

But the celebrations were not just confined to Stonehenge, with other cultures regularly observing the shorted day of the year.

The Feast of Jul was observed in Scandinavian countries around the solstice.

The feast was seen as the last celebration before the winter began, making food scarce.

A woman presses her head against the stone in Wiltshire Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

People dressed in robes to witness the sunrise after the longest night Credit: PA:Press Association

A man in bright clothes clings onto the rock Credit: PA:Press Association

Across Europe the winter solstice is known as Yule, from the Norse word Jul (or juul), meaning wheel Credit: PA:Press Association
A person draped in white cloth dances during the celebrations Credit: PA:Press Association

A man drinks from an unusual cup Credit: PA:Press Association


A little girl taps on a drum as she joins the crowds of people marking the winter solstice Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

Most notably, the winter solstice is associated with the druids who mark the start of the solar year with a celebration of light and the rebirth of the sun Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

Red is one of the auspicious colours for the day Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

The day has been celebrated by various cultures around the world for thousands of years and is generally a recognition of rebirth Credit: PA:Press Association

Fires would be lit to symbolise the heat and light of the returning sun and a Yule log was gathered and burnt in the hearth as a tribute to the Norse god Thor.

There are many songs and poems used to celebrate this special day.

Pagan homes are often decorated with supposedly sacred herbs and red, green and white colours.

Holly, ivy, evergreen boughs and pine cones are usually put around the home, especially in places where socialising takes place.

A sprig of mistletoe is put up above a threshold and is meant to be left there until the next Yule.

Pagans see it as a charm for good luck throughout the year but has now taken on a symbolic meaning for kissing beneath it and the opportunity for romance.

Meanwhile, it's the summer solstice if you head below the equator.

In the southern hemisphere, the seasons are flipped compared to ours.

That means December, January and February are the height of summer in countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

So the December 22 solstice falls in the middle of their summer, while the June solstice is their winter.

A couple hug each other as they watch the sun rise Credit: PA:Press Association

One person is dressed up to mark the occasion, banging a drum Credit: PA:Press Association

A number of people hold hands as they watch the sunrise Credit: PA:Press Association

A stunning sun rise shows the beams of light through the Stonehenge structure Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

Two people draped themselves in lights for the event Credit: PA:Press Association

Another person puts their face onto the rock Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

A man in a top hat stands next to a bearded man in white robes Credit: PA:Press Association

One gentleman was seen in long robes with a stick Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

One man sits playing a didgeridoo Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

Children were among the crowds to welcome the sun rise Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

A couple place their heads together next to the rock Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

A couple wear flower crowns made of green and red Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

The winter solstice is an extremely important event for some Credit: PA:Press Association

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/106043...onehenge-2019/
 
AnnaEmber
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petros
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