Summer Solstice Crowds Swarmed Over Stonehenge & Here's Why It's Ground Zero For Pagans
"It's quite a profound experience."
The 2022 summer solstice has arrived, and pagan party-goers have a lot of catching up to do.
Thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge on Tuesday to welcome the longest day of sunlight on the calendar, and this year's party was extra-special after a two-year pandemic-related hiatus.
Although the warm weather has already arrived in many places, the summer solstice marks the first astronomical day of summer, and for many people around the world, it's a big day.
The summer solstice is when the sun reaches the highest point in the sky, making it the longest summer day in the northern hemisphere, reported Science Focus. That moment came on June 21 at 10:13 a.m. BS, and a bunch of people were gathered to enjoy the moment together at Stonehenge, one of the U.K.'s most well-known landmarks.
But why Stonehenge?
The ancient monument is situated in just such a way that it marks the position of the rising sun during the solstice. We still don't really know why, but it's been like that for thousands of years and there are many theories.
Astrology believers, pagans and New Age revellers love to celebrate the day for its cosmic significance, and on Tuesday they showed up in droves to ring in the summer.
"It's fantastic to be able to welcome everybody back again," English Heritage site manager Heather Sebire told the BBC. "There are people who are modern day druids and pagan groups who treat this as a place of worship."
This year about 6,000 people gathered at the ancient monument and watched the sunrise together at 4:49 am, reported CBS News.
Although the atmosphere was "convivial" according to the police, there were still two arrests; one for drug possession and the other for assault.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon even thanked the crowd for a mostly "peaceful and safe" summer solstice celebration.
Even some Canadians made the trip to be part of the festival's revival.
"The energy, the atmosphere here, you knew it would be spectacular, but once you're here, it's something different," Canadian traveller David told the BBC. "It's quite a profound experience."