The first sunrise after the Winter Solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge by revelers.
Stonehenge visitors celebrated the first sunrise after the Winter Solstice 24 hours after toasting the new day on the year’s shortest day.
While the solstice – when the northern hemisphere is furthest from the sun – occurred at 3.59 p.m. yesterday, pagans and druids spent a second morning at the ancient site welcoming a new day.
Today is the official shortest day of the year and the start of astronomical winter, which begins on December 1, as opposed to meteorological winter, which begins on December 1. Shetland is the most extreme example, with only five hours and 49 minutes of daylight.
Hundreds of people gathered around the Stonehenge monument as the sun rose at 8.10 a.m., according to photographs.
Some chose to climb the rocks, while another woman performed a handstand against one.
The site was closed to the public last year, so those celebrating today were ecstatic to be able to see the phenomenon firsthand.
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Several dozen Pagan worshippers, as well as a few security guards, visited the site in 2020 despite the closure, but the majority went online to catch a glimpse of the sunrise over the English Heritage site.
‘The whole monument is orientated to the midwinter sunrise and the midsummer sunset,’ Heather Sebire, Stonehenge’s curator, told BBC Radio Wiltshire.
It’s the first day of the new year.
‘The people who built Stonehenge were agriculturalists who grew their own food, and they probably knew that as the days grew longer, things would improve, and their crops would hopefully grow again.’
The traditional date for the Winter Solstice is December 21, but the astronomically accurate shortest day of the year can vary by a few days on either side.
For example, the English Heritage celebrates the winter solstice at Stonehenge on this astronomically significant day.
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