Thousands of people gather at Stonehenge to celebrate the winter solstice

Posted at 12:55 PM, Dec 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-22 13:55:52-05

Originally Published: 22 DEC 19 13:40 ET
Updated: 22 DEC 19 13:52 ET

    (CNN) -- On the shortest day of the year, 5,000 people gathered at Stonehenge to celebrate the winter solstice Sunday.

Stonehenge is the UK's most famous site for solstice celebrations. On the winter solstice,visitors have the rare opportunity to enter the towering, mysterious stone circle for a sunrise ceremony run by local pagan and druid groups.

Rebecca Henderson from Southampton, Hampshire, told CNN that this was a bucket-list experience for her.

"There's something very cathartic and magical about being surrounded by history and watching the sunrise surrounded by people from around the world," Henderson said.

"The sunrise is absolutely breathtaking, and there's nothing like seeing it cover the stones with a beautiful golden light."

English Heritage, the organization that cares for the historic site, tweeted that the skies cleared just in time for a stunning sunrise. The group added that 5,000 people took part in the peaceful celebrations.

Danny Borchert, who grew up five miles down the road, told CNN this was his first time to experience the solstice celebrations. He said the early start was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise.

In June, visitors from all over the world will gather to celebrate thesummer solstice at Stonehenge.


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