SUN-seekers will be alarmed to know that the summer solstice is just around the corner. The pagan celebration falls in June every year. 

Even though the midsummer date is when we get the most daylight of the year, it also marks the time where the days start shortening ahead of winter.

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The summer solstice is considered to be the longest day of the year because it’s when we get the most daylight. Getty Images

Here’s everything you need to know about summer solstice 2017…

When is the summer solstice?

The midsummer date is set based on the planet’s rotational axis.

It’s decided based on the sun’s tilt towards the sun, which hits its maximum at 23° 26′ and falls between June 20 and June 22 in the northern hemisphere.

This year, the summer solstice will take place on Wednesday, June 21st
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The date is decided based on the angle of the Earth’s tilt. Getty Images

What is the summer solstice?

The ‘longest’ day of the year marks the middle of summer.

This is because the tilt of the Earth’s axis is most aligned with the sun, providing us with the most daylight of the year.

After June 21, the nights will began to close in as our planet rotates away from the sun.

The date where Earth is the furthest from the star is marked by the winter solstice.

What’s the summer solstice got to do with Stonehenge?

The day is celebrated by pagans and druids, with rituals of rebirth performed throughout history on the day.

One of the biggest celebrations in the UK occurs at Stonehenge with crowds gathering to watch the sunrise.

The tradition sees revellers waiting by the Wiltshire monument on midsummer, facing towards the north-easterly direction.

Crowds of devotees, often dressed for the occasion, regularly gather to watch the moment the sun rises above the Heel Stone.

It’s just one of the many pagan festivals, which include midwinter and imbolc – the day that traditionally marks the start of spring.

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Revellers face the sun as they watch it rise up around the Wiltshire monument

How else is the summer solstice celebrated?Midsummer festivities are held across the world in many different cultures.

In many cases, the rituals are linked with themes of religion or fertility.

Wianki celebrations in Poland are similar to those held in Britain, as the day is largely considered a pagan religious event.

There are different traditions across Europe, with Estonia using the day to mark a shift in agricultural patterns.

In Russia and Ukraine, it’s tradition for revellers to jump over bonfires to test their courage and religious faith.

Article source: By Sophie Roberts The Sun News

Cross it off your bucket list this year and join our Stonehenge Summer Solstice Tour. Guided tours with luxury transport depart from Bath and London on 20th and 21st for sunset and sunrise.

Stonehenge Guided Tours
The Stonehenge Experts
Established 1995

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History.com listed these interesting facts about Stonehenge:

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“Among the remaining riddles about Stonehenge is how its builders, who had only primitive tools, managed to haul all the massive stones to the site. The sarsen stones, which each weigh an average of 25 tons, are thought to have been brought to the site from Marlborough Downs, about 20 miles to the north. The bluestones, which weigh between 2 tons to 5 tons, were transported to Stonehenge from the Preseli Hills area in West Wales, a distance of more than 150 miles. Most archaeologists believe that humans moved the bluestones over water and land to Stonehenge, although it’s also been suggested these stones could’ve been pushed to the site by glaciers.”

Stonehenge once was put up for auction.“…the passage of the Ancient Monuments Consolidation and Amendment Act in 1913 protected Stonehenge from being intentionally demolished. In 1915, Stonehenge went up on the auction block, where local resident Cecil Chubb successfully bid on the site, on a whim, for £6,600. Three years later, Chubb donated Stonehenge to the national government. In recognition of this deed, he was knighted by Prime Minister Lloyd George.”

Theories abound about Stonehenge’s purpose.“Stonehenge’s builders left no known written records, so scholars (and non-scholars) have long speculated about why it was constructed. Those theories include ‘(Stonehenge) was erected as a memorial to hundreds of Britons who were slayed by the Saxons’ or that ‘Stonehenge was built as a Druid temple.’”

Summer solstice gatherings were banned at Stonehenge.“First held in 1974 during the summer solstice, the Stonehenge Free Festival started as a counter-culture gathering that grew significantly in size over time. After tens of thousands of people showed up for the 1984 festival, authorities banned the event for the following year over concerns about the bad behavior of some of the visitors.” Summer Solstice Tour

Darwin studied worms there.“Darwin’s research was included in what would be his final book, ‘The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms,’ published in 1881.”

Join us on a guided Tour of Stonehenge and hear all the facts and figures.

The Stonehenge Tour Experts
Established 1995
http://www.StonehengeTours.com

At various times and in different (mostly Northern European) cultures, the solstice has gone by different names, such as Yule, Midwinter, and Jól. Nowadays, the solstice gets overshadowed by its more commercial and religious winter relatives: Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa; but plenty of people still celebrate the winter solstice in its own right.

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If you’ve ever wondered what the solstice is, or why it matters, here’s the lowdown.

What is it?

The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. From June to December, the days shorten and shorten until the solstice. After the winter solstice, days gradually grow longer again (yay!), which brings warmer temperatures. On the actual solstice, the North Pole gets zero energy from the sun — that is, no sunlight at all.

In the summer, we celebrate the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. (In the Southern Hemisphere, everything is flip-flopped — they’re celebrating the summer solstice in December.)

When is it?

Each year, the winter solstice falls on either December 21 or 22. This year, it takes place Tuesday, December 22 at 4:48 UTC (December 21 at 11:48 p.m. EST).

But I noticed the sun started setting later before the solstice…

An astute observation! Depending on where you live, the shortest day of the year doesn’t necessarily fall on the day with the earliest sunset or the latest sunrise. This has to do with what’s called “true solar noon,” the time when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. In early December, solar noon is about ten minutes earlier than it is when we hit the solstice. Thus, depending on the latitude where you live, the sunset may actually be slightly later on the solstice than it was earlier in the month. The closer you live to the Arctic, the more closely the earliest sunset and the winter solstice will match up.

What about the latest sunrise?

Unless you live in the Arctic Circle, the latest sunrise usually arrives in early January, which makes sense, knowing that solar noon moves later in the day starting in early December. There’s a variation in solar noon and noon on the clock, because of the tilt of the earth’s axis and the earth’s not-quite-circular orbit around the sun.

How long have we known about the solstice?

Our earliest ancestors tracked the seasons and years by changes in the sky: the movement of the sun, stars, and moon. Stonehenge is one of the most famous monuments in the world built to observe and celebrate our trek around the sun. Nowadays, 3,000 to 5,000 people visit Stonehenge to watch the sunrise on the winter solstice and up to 30,000 visit for the summer solstice.

Article source: Refinery 29

Solstice Events U.K operate guided tours from London and Bath.  Experience sunrise on the Winter Solstice, a truly magical experience!

Stonehenge Guided Tours

What we learned about Stonehenge this week is that it wasn’t built for summer celebrations.

Operation Stonehenge: a BBC programme investigated the prehistoric monument

Stonehenge Photo: Alamy

First reports of the discovery of a mass of huge stones buried near Stonehenge, appearing to be the remains of another ceremonial structure four times larger, included the tantalising suggestion that it was aligned to the position of the sun on the shortest day of the year. This echoes a remarkable discovery published 20 years ago by the late Professor John North, an expert on the history of human cosmology.

In his book Stonehenge: Neolithic Man and the Cosmos, North showed by meticulous calculation how the alignment of Stonehenge was not, as was long supposed, to the Midsummer sunrise, but to its setting on the day of the Winter Solstice: in other words, to that very moment when the old year dies before nature begins its return to new life. For our Neolithic ancestors, it was thus a midwinter festival equivalent to our Christmas or the Roman Saturnalia.

We must now await further word from the academic discoverers of this new “Super-henge” on how they think its builders 4,500 years ago, like those of Stonehenge, directed it towards the position of the sun at just the moment when the year dies to be reborn. It was this which, when I first wrote about it on December 24 2006, inspired one of my sub-editors to the memorable headline “Have yourself a Megalithic Christmas”.

By  (Source – Telegraph)

Please view our Stonehenge Winter Solstice and Christmas Tours.

Stonehenge Guided Tours

Stonehenge Sunset and Sunrise Tour – 2014 Solstice Celebrations

The most famous prehistoric monument in the world, and now a world heritage site, Stonehenge stands alone in the vast empty tract of Salisbury plain. Its origins date back nearly 5,000 years and it has been home to pagan religion and spiritual worship, not to be mention public debate ever since. What was this vast collection of stones intended for? Was it observatory of the moon, a temple to the sun, or an elaborate cemetery? Who were the people who carried and carved these 40 ton rocks? Come and unlock the secrets for yourself and marvel at this remarkable and mysterious feat of ancient engineering and design, as we enjoy the wonderful celebrations that take place to mark the summer solstice.

The Sunset tour :

Mid Summer Sunset

Mid Summer Sunset

Join our Solstice Tour that departs London at lunchtime and heads west towards the site, taking time to enjoy the ancient stones at Avebury, before heading to picturesque Lacock for an early evening supper, included in the price. From here we journey to Stonehenge itself arriving at roughly 7pm, as it begins it’s annual celebration of the summer solstice. Huge crowds gather and there will be plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere of this historic event, walk amongst the stones, and observe the pagan rituals and ceremonies that take place at varying intervals throughout the evening. Please note there are two twenty to thirty minute walks involved during the day in order to see the celebrations at Avebruy and Stonehenge.

The Sunrise Tour:

Join our Premium Tour that departs London at 1am on the 21st June 2013 and heads directly to Stonehenge arriving at roughly 3am. The annual celebration of the summer solstice will be well under way by then as the atmosphere builds towards the sunrise, and the climax of the event. Huge crowds gather and there will be plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere of this historic morning, walk amongst the stones, and observe the pagan rituals and ceremonies that take place at varying intervals throughout the evening. Please note there is a twenty to thirty minute walk involved in order to get from the coach park to the event.

Summer solstice:

The solstice itself is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year as the Sun reaches its highest or lowest excursion relative to the celestial equator, with the sun appearing to have reached its highest or lowest annual altitude in the sky above the horizon.

The word solstice is comes from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun, as seen from earth stands still in declination before reversing it’s direction. Thus after the summer solstice the sun does not appear as high in the sky and daylight reduces. The solstice is therefore seen as the midpoint of summer in many cultures and is cause for celebration.

Pagan celebrations:

Like other religious groups, Pagans are in awe of the strength of the sun and the divine powers that create life. For many pagans, they believe that the Goddess took over the earth from the horned God at the beginning of spring and she is now at the height of her power and fertility. The summer solstice marks the marriage of the God and Goddess and see their union as the force that creates the harvest’s fruits. To celebrate many Pagans and non Pagans head to ancient religious sites including Avebury and Stonehenge, to conduct fascinating and colourful ceremonies throughout the night enjoying the last sunset and sunrise before the sun alters it’s direction once more.

Additional information:

Please note that as a responsible tour operator we have a duty of care towards the places we visit and in this case we ask you to be take great care when visiting the historic site. It is important that Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments are preserved for future generations and we ask you not to touch the stones, and not to leave any litter at the site.

Visitors are requested to dispose of their rubbish carefully at the designated recycling and rubbish points located in the Solstice Car Park and at Stonehenge. Clear recycling bags will also be handed out on arrival.. Please do not drop litter – bag and bin your rubbish so the recycling team can gather them up. It is a very sensitive landscape and still used by local farmers so please respect their crops and livestock.

There are authorised catering facilities on the site and some personal food and drink is allowed to be brought onto the site. Please bring them in a small bag – large rucksacks are not permitted. Glass is not permitted and will be confiscated – many people walk barefoot and the livestock graze in the area throughout the year. A small amount of alcohol is permitted on the site amounting to no more than one bottle of wine, or 4 500ml cans of beer or cider. Please note consumption of alcohol on the coach is not permitted. Due to the large numbers of people who attend the vent, naked flames are strictly forbidden. Small ground sheets and blankets are allowed.

Please note that there will be a lot of walking on grass involved and we recommend bringing warm clothing, sensible footwear and a small umbrella if rain is forecast.

*Due to the nature of this special event, we cannot guarantee exact arrival or departure times from Stonehenge so all timings are approximate.

Limited spaces so book early

Visit our website for full details: www.StonehengeTours.com

Stonehenge Guided Tour