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June Solstice 2023 & Stonehenge

The Summer solstice is here! It's officially the first day of Summer and the longest day of the year - but what else can we find out about the longest day of the year and Stonehenge, the World Heritage site where people come together in the hundreds to celebrate?

Hello all!

We can finally say it – summer is here! The year began with freezing temperatures and snow but we’ve made it. The temperature is in it’s 20s (and is probably going to get hotter, remember to stay hydrated and wear suncream), the sun is shining, exams are nearly over and summer is here.

To mark the longest day of the year, many people go down to Stonehenge to watch and celebrate. Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, South of England. It’s a circle of rocks, which once stood at 13ft. It took a 1000 years to build and was built 5000 years ago. Scientists think it was used to determine what time of the year it was, but the biggest mystery of all, is that nobody knows how the rocks got there.

On the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone in the north-east part of the horizon and it will be celebrated from 7pm on June 20th to 8am on June 21st.

Stonehenge is a religious and sacred site to many. People will celebrate, dance, hold hands in circles to mark the solstice. Entry is free to celebrate but respect is key – for the rocks and for all those attending.

But what other facts can we find out about the Summer solstice?

  • The sun will be directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer – making it the first day of the Cancer zodiac.
  • The names come from the fact the sun appears to be at a standstill
  • Thousands celebrate at Stonehenge
  • In Ancient Egypt, Summer solstice began the New Year
  • The Ancient Chinese would honour “yin” on the Summer Solstice – and mark the “yang” on the Winter Solstice

But what about Stonehenge?

  • Some of the Stonehenge rocks are even bigger than they look – with the bottom of the rocks buried into the ground
  • Around 180 generations have passed since the stones were erected – but many lived on the site before it was built
  • In the main exhibition, you can see 15 minutes of somebody’s life from 5500 years ago
  • Stonehenge was auctioned to a buyer in 1915, but was given back to the nation a few years later
  • About 1500 Roman objects have been found at Stonehenge
  • Stonehenge has had to be repaired
  • The Rooks (a very territorial type of bird) recognise the staff
  • 1 or 2 people are proposed to every month
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