Of all the ancient places in the world, there are few that hold as much mystery as Stonehenge. An ancient, Stone Age site that’s made up of massive stone blocks, there has been plenty of speculation over the years as to why the original Britons decided to create the imposing structures thousands of years ago.
Stonehenge has become an important part of modern Druidism, and serves as the host site for one of the most important celebrations of the year: the Summer Solstice.
Over 10000 druids travel to the site to celebrate the changing of the seasons, and imitate the ancient march that their ancestors undertook every year.
The Summer Solstices
In the Northern Hemisphere, during the warmer months, the sun is shining directly down on the UK at midday.
The summer solstice occurs on the day of the year that has the longest period of daylight, in the Northern Hemisphere, while it’s conversely the shortest period of daylight in the Southern Hemisphere.
When the solstice occurs on June 20th, and the sun’s path stops moving northward in the sky, it marks the end of summer as the days begin to become shorter.
For the ancient Britons, and indeed for many cultures of the time, the changing of the seasons was vital to survival, and was scene as a sacred transition. It was the chance that brought on winter, as the days grew colder, and ancient farmers followed the seasons religiously in order to stockpile enough food and supplies to survive through the colder months.
Although times have changed, and the seasons no longer affect us directly thanks to our heated homes where we can relax and play mobile casinos Canada, the significance of the solstices is still celebrated.
The Winter Solstices
Stonehenge is also tied to the winter solstice, which takes place around the 20th of December. People will travel to the site and watch as the sun sets in the middle of the three great stones, which are known as the Trilithon.
The Trilithon faces outwards from the centre of the site, and its smooth face is turned toward the midwinter site. The axis of Stonehenge seems to have been built with almost mathematical precision to align with the setting sun of the winter solstice.
Stonehenge’s 100 Year Celebration
Before 1977, Stonehenge was open to the public, and people were allowed to walk among the stones and even climb them.
But the monument was eventually roped off, and is now only reserved for special celebrations that include modern day druids. In 2018, 9500 travelled to the historic site to celebrate one hundred years since local barrister Cecil Chubb and his wife Mary gifted Stonehenge to the nation, and began one hundred years of conservation and care that has continued to this day. English scholars still debate on what exactly the purpose of Stonehenge is.
Archaeological survey and studies have revealed the bones of ancient people, especially the young, and some believe it may be a place of sacrifice – perhaps the ancient people sacrificed others to their gods for the hope of a mild winter.
Others, however, feel that it was instead a place where the dying were led toward to celebrate the end of their life.