Crowds celebrate summer solstice at ancient Stonehenge monument

LONDON — Thousands of druids, pagans and New Age revellers celebrated the summer solstice at Stonehenge on Tuesday, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

About 6,000 people gathered at the ancient stone circle in southern England on a clear, crisp morning to watch the sun rise at 4.49am (0349GMT), Wiltshire Police said.

Police said the atmosphere was “jolly” and only two arrests were made – one for assault and the other for drug possession.

It was the first time since 2019 that revelers were allowed to gather on the winter solstice. Sunrise is streaming online in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Stonehenge was built between 5,000 and 3,500 years ago on a windswept plain in southwest England by a Neolithic sun-worshiping culture. Experts are still debating its purpose, but it is aligned so that at the summer solstice the sun rises behind the heel stone and sunlight is directed to the center of the circle.

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