Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Solstice sunrise at Stonehenge obscured by fog


Stonehenge solstice celebration

Hundreds of druids and pagans have celebrated the winter solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire despite the sunrise being obscured by fog.

Up to 600 people were at the monument, which had a dusting of snow, after it opened at 0730 GMT for the ceremony to mark the shortest day of the year.

The shortest day is often on 21 December but winter solstice can fall any time between 19 and 23 December.

Recent research suggests the ancient stones were more significant in winter.

Peter Carson, head of Stonehenge, said: "The winter solstice did actually occur yesterday evening but many druid and pagan communities consider that today has been the first dawn after the solstice, that's when it should be celebrated.

"Some actually turned up yesterday and had a celebration because they believe it should be on the day of the solstice itself.

"It's not just those that see Stonehenge as a spiritual centre it is a whole multitude of people from both locally and oversees and they want to come here to celebrate the solstice.

"It's one of those things you must do at least once in your life and for many of those that come they will come again and again. It's a very special time for Stonehenge."

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