All hail the rising sun! Stonehenge welcomes 8,000 visitors for the summer solstice

by Gabriel Martinez
summer solstice celebration

Praise the ascending sun! Stonehenge warmly embraces 8,000 visitors during the summer solstice.

Paying homage to the rising sun, approximately 8,000 revelers congregated around a prehistoric stone circle situated on a plain in southern England. They gathered either to express their devotion to the sun or simply to partake in communal merriment.

Among the attendees were druids, pagans, hippies, local residents, and tourists, many adorned in vibrant costumes and even donning antlers. They stayed overnight, celebrating at Stonehenge and eagerly awaited the sunrise on Wednesday, the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere.

In other news, a star devours a planet in a single gulp, a celestial phenomenon that captivates the imagination.

At the break of dawn, the sun ascended behind the Heel Stone in the northeast, casting its initial rays into the heart of Stonehenge. This iconic prehistoric monument, recognized as a World Heritage Site, exuded a vibrant energy as the sun-filled dawn followed a slightly misty sunrise. The moment was met with drumming, chanting, and jubilation.

“Stonehenge continues to fascinate and unite people in celebration of the seasons, just as it has for millennia,” remarked Nichola Tasker, director of Stonehenge at English Heritage, a charitable organization responsible for managing numerous historic sites. “From sunset to sunrise, there was a wonderful atmosphere, and everyone enjoyed a profoundly atmospheric morning,” she added.

Local authorities reported two arrests for a suspected public order offense after intoxicated individuals were denied entry.

Catherine Roper, Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, attended the solstice for the first time and remarked, “Everyone has been joyous, relishing the event and having a delightful time, while ensuring peace and safety.”

In addition to the 8,000 attendees, English Heritage noted that approximately 154,000 individuals worldwide tuned in to watch the sunset and sunrise through the charity’s livestream.

As summer officially commences, an air of optimism pervades the entire United Kingdom. Notably, the nearby Glastonbury Festival, one of the largest music events globally, also opens its gates on Wednesday. Both Stonehenge and Glastonbury supposedly reside on ley lines—mystical energy connections traversing the U.K.

For the thousands embarking on the pilgrimage to Stonehenge, situated around 80 miles (128 kilometers) southwest of London, the journey entails more than anticipation for Elton John’s performance at Glastonbury or enjoying refreshing ciders under the sun. Many of those present at Stonehenge will make the short 50-mile (80-kilometer) trip further west to Glastonbury in the following days.

For druids, contemporary spiritualists linked to the ancient Celtic religious order, Stonehenge holds profound significance, and they conducted their rituals in their traditional white robes during the solstice. Their practices revolve around the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

This year, the summer solstice at Stonehenge began on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and continued until Wednesday at 8 a.m. During this exclusive night, worshippers were permitted to spend time within the stone circle. Some chanted, played acoustic guitars, or beat their drums. Alcohol and sound systems were prohibited, while blankets were allowed—though sleeping bags were not. Climbing on the stones was strictly forbidden.

Over the years, the regulations have become more stringent, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past, tens of thousands would travel by foot, car, bus, or motorcycle to worship at the solar temple or simply revel in the festive atmosphere.

Stonehenge stands as a symbol of British culture and history, and despite the persistent traffic congestion on the nearby A303 highway, a popular route for travelers to and from the southwest of England, it remains one of the country’s most prominent tourist attractions.

Constructed on the plains of Salisbury, Stonehenge was built in multiple stages starting 5,000 years ago. The distinctive stone circle was erected during the late Neolithic period around 2,500 B.C. Some of the stones, known as bluestones, were transported from the Preseli Hills in southwest Wales, nearly 150 miles (240 kilometers) away. However, the origins of other stones remain shrouded in mystery.

Numerous theories have been proposed regarding the site’s significance, ranging from Stonehenge being a coronation site for Danish kings, a druid temple, a healing center, or an astronomical device for predicting eclipses and solar events.

English Heritage asserts that the most widely accepted interpretation is that of a prehistoric temple aligned with the movements of the sun. The stones impeccably align with the sun during both the summer and winter solstices.

Reporting contributed by Pylas from London.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about summer solstice celebration

What is Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located on the plains of Salisbury in southern England. It is a famous site consisting of a unique stone circle that was erected around 2,500 B.C. during the late Neolithic period.

How many visitors attended the summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge?

Approximately 8,000 revelers gathered at Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice.

Who attends the summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge?

The attendees include a diverse range of people, such as druids, pagans, hippies, local residents, and tourists from around the world.

What happens during the summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge?

During the celebration, people express their devotion to the sun, engage in communal activities, and witness the sunrise. Rituals, chanting, drumming, and colorful costumes are part of the festive atmosphere.

Are there any restrictions or rules for attending the summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge?

Yes, there are certain rules in place. Participants are not allowed to bring alcohol or sound systems. Sleeping bags and climbing on the stones are also prohibited. Blankets are allowed, and visitors are expected to respect the site and follow the guidelines set by the organizers.

What is the significance of Stonehenge?

Stonehenge holds historical and cultural significance as a symbol of British heritage. Its exact purpose remains a subject of debate, but it is generally believed to have served as a prehistoric temple aligned with the movements of the sun.

Can Stonehenge be visited at other times of the year?

Yes, Stonehenge is open to visitors throughout the year. However, access to the inner circle is limited, and special arrangements need to be made in advance. Visitors can explore the site, learn about its history, and appreciate its architectural and cultural value.

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HistoryBuff99 June 28, 2023 - 6:43 am

Stonehenge has always fascinated me with its enigmatic purpose and ancient origins. It’s amazing how people from different backgrounds come together to celebrate the solstice at this iconic site. I would love to witness the sunrise there one day.

Joe123 June 28, 2023 - 8:22 am

stonehenge is so cool man love the idea of people celebrating the solstice there i wnt to go sometime and be part of the fun

TravelAddict June 28, 2023 - 2:03 pm

Stonehenge is def a must-visit when in the UK. Such a historic landmark and the summer solstice celebration sounds like a blast. Can’t wait to go and soak up the vibes!

NatureLover22 June 28, 2023 - 4:57 pm

stonehenge is a amazin place to connect with the ancient past and feel the power of the sun the rituals sound mystical and exciting would be an incredible experience

SpiritSeeker June 28, 2023 - 6:06 pm

The solstice celebration at Stonehenge represents the cyclical nature of life, and it’s incredible to see modern-day spiritualists connecting with ancient traditions. Stonehenge holds a mystical energy that draws people from all over the world. A truly awe-inspiring experience!


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