England: A Perfect Sunrise At Neolithic ‘Stonehenge’ – 21/6/2017.

Fittingly, today, 21st June 2017 is going to be probably the hottest midsummer day for around 40 years. 

Huge crowds gathered at Stonehenge to welcome the Summer sun rising on the morning of 21stStonehenge is considered to be a very special place for midsummer – The Neolithic monument is widely believed to be a prehistoric temple built to mark the movements of the sun, according to English Heritage. The heel stone and slaughter stones at the site are aligned with sunrise on summer solstice.

Even in midsummer the UK is often / usually swamped in rain and the sunrise is not seen at Stonehenge.  But this year it has been perfect as you can see from some of the photos.

The summer solstice occurs around the 21 June in the northern hemisphere and is the time when then sun reaches its highest point of the year at the Tropic of Cancer, resulting in the longest day.

This year the summer solstice will see the UK bathed in sunlight for around 16 hours and 38 minutes on Wednesday 21. 

 

Why is the summer solstice seen as special?

‘Solstice’ comes from the Latin, ‘solstitium’, meaning the stopping or standing still of the sun, and marks the first day of summer.

The summer solstice is marked with a number of festivals, feasts and rituals across different faiths, and strongly associated with fertility, growth and light.

The Christian feast day of St John the Baptist occurs within days of the solstice, while in ancient China, the solstice was associated with Li, the goddess of light.

The day is perhaps most strongly linked with pagans, who used it as a marker for planting and harvesting crops. It also marked the union of the pagan god and goddess, which was believed to create the harvest’s fruits, the BBC reports. 

Why is Stonehenge significant to the summer solstice?

Thousands of people descend on the ancient religious site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire each year to see the sun rise on the summer solstice, with many dressed in flower garlands or druids’ robes.

The Neolithic monument is widely believed to be a prehistoric temple built to mark the movements of the sun, according to English Heritage. The heel stone and slaughter stones at the site are aligned with sunrise on summer solstice.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: