Winter Solstice at Stonehenge 2021
Winter Solstice History
The Winter Solstice, also known as the shortest day of the year, takes place between December 20th and December 23rd. For thousands of years, civilisations and cultures would mark the winter solstice with feasts and celebrations. This time of the year also marks the beginning of the astronomical winter, where the Earth’s north pole tilts farthest away from the Sun’s light. This is reversed in the astronomical summer in March when the Earth tilts furthest towards the Sun’s light.
The passing of the winter solstice and creating a measurement of the seasons was monumentally important to the everyday lives of the farmers and their families. During the long winter months and cold wet weather, crops would not grow and herds would become too expensive to feed. This led some to believe the winter solstice feasts where families would bring the last of their fruitful crops and bounties of meat products.
One theory for the existence of Stonehenge, according to English Heritage, is that Neolithic people constructed Stonehenge as a monument aligned to the movements of the Sun. By noting the position of the Sun behind specific stones, people were able to recognise the changing seasons throughout the year.
Traditionally, people from all over the world would gather at Stonehenge to celebrate the winter solstice. These people would include neo-Druids, neo-Pagans, tourists and anyone who appreciates and wishes to partake in the celebrations. In previous years, people would gather at Stonehenge and watch the sunrise over the stones, celebrating the arrival of the sun and the promise of days getting longer.
The passing of the winter solstice and creating a measurement of the seasons was monumentally important to the everyday lives of the farmers and their families. During the long winter months and cold wet weather, crops wouldn’t grow and herds would become too expensive to feed. This led some to believe the winter solstice feasts where families would bring the last of their fruitful crops and bounties of meat products.
Will Stonehenge Be Open for the Winter Solstice?
Winter Solstice observations at Stonehenge have not yet been announced by English Heritage and the schedule is not set in stone. The Winter Solstice is scheduled to take place between December 20th and December 22nd 2021. However, due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis and the health and safety of visitors and staff, English Heritage has the duty of care and privilege to change scheduled plans.
Only a select chosen of groups are allowed within the stones at the discretion of English Heritage before the site is open to the public. This is a pre-arranged agreement between English Heritage and relevant tour groups and is not open to members of the public.
It is currently unsure if English Heritage will be live streaming the Winter Solstice live from their Facebook page. Last year’s event was a resounding success, with spectators from around the world can watching the sunset and sunrise from the comfort of their homes.
If you’re planning on visiting the stones for Winter Solstice, get in touch with us here at Brades Acre and book your pitch or holiday home, today.