Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice @Stonehenge

The June solstice is known as the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice the southern hemisphere. The date varies between June 20 and June 22, depending on the year. In the Gregorian calendar the June solstice dates vary. For example, it occurred on June 20 in 2008 and falls on June 21 in 2009. A June 22 solstice will not occur until June 22, 2203, which is 193 years away from 2010. A June 22 solstice previously occurred on June 22, 1971. This year - 2012 - the summer solstice is on June 20 at 11.08 pm UTC.
In TimeandDate (abridged)


photo credit: Christopher_Hawkins via photo pin cc

Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning 'sun' + 'to stand still'. As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky. As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December.
Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer otherwise known as the Summer Solstice. The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun's energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light. Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids' celebration of the day as the 'wedding of Heaven and Earth', resulting in the present day belief of a 'lucky' wedding in June. Today, the day is still celebrated around the world - most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice. Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are also common in June, when groups assemble to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn.
In Chiff.com (abridged)

photo credit: Christopher_Hawkins via photo pin cc
Experiencing the summer solstice at this famous site is truly something special. For nearly two thousand years Stonehenge has been an enigma, which is perhaps why it has such a hold on the nation’s imagination. In celebration of the summer solstice the public are giving rare access to the stones at Stonehenge. You’ll find people from all walks of life staying up through the night on June 20th to see the sunrise on June 21st. And at this time, you’ll no doubt begin to sense the site’s long history and alluring mystery. For some people it’s an almost spiritual time, for others it’s just chance to have some fun, but for all it’s a truly memorable occasion.
In eBookers.com (abridged)

Follow this link to take a look at a photo gallery about last year's summer solstice at Stonehenge.

Photo credits: AFP / Getty Images

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