Winter Solstice marks shortest day of the year


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The Independent Online

Thousands of people joined druids and pagans who gathered together to celebrate the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge, the shortest day and longest night of the year.

English Heritage said 3,500 people turned out among the prehistoric rocks to watch the sun rise at 8.04am this morning. Kate Davies, who manages Stonehenge for English Heritage told the BBC: "We were delighted to welcome over 3,500 people to Stonehenge to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

"The wind and the rain did not dampen the celebration. And the ancient stone circle was filled with the sound of song, drumming and chanting.

"We are grateful to everyone who helped to make this winter solstice a success and we look forward to seeing people at the summer solstice next year."

The Winter Solstice is claimed to be more important in the pagan calendar than the Summer Solstice, because it marks the 're-birth' of the Sun for the New Year.

Google marked the shortest day of the year - and the official start of winter - in the northern hemisphere with a knitted Google Doodle designed by German illustrator Christoph Niemann.

The days will now start to get longer again as the sun moves northwards and spends more time above the horizon.