By now, we’re all used to our favorite events being canceled this year. Luckily the winter solstice is cancel-proof. While your options for celebrating the shortest day of the year might have narrowed, that doesn’t mean you can’t still ring in the promise of more daylight in epic fashion.
Stonehenge, the prehistoric site, hosts one of the most popular summer solstice celebrations in the world. The June event usually attracts thousands of people, including the druid and pagan communities, to watch the sun rise behind the Heel Stone. But the ancient people who built Stonhenge also used to make a big deal about the winter solstice.
When the monument was still standing in its entirety the sun used to set exactly in between two standing stones. Today, you can’t see the phenomenon happen, but many usually gather to honor the ancient celebration and mark the shortest day and longest night of the year.
Since people aren’t allowed to visit Stonehenge this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be livestreamed on the English Heritage’s social media accounts on the evening of December 20 and the morning of December 21 (sunset is at 4:01 PM local time, while sunrise is at 8:09 AM).
According to a statement by English Heritage, “Owing to the pandemic, and in the interests of public health, there will be no Winter Solstice gathering at Stonehenge this year. The Winter Solstice sunrise will instead be live-streamed from the stones on the morning of the 21 December. It will be easy and free to watch on the English Heritage social media channels. We know how appealing it is to come to Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice but we are asking everyone to stay safe and to watch the sunrise online instead. We look forward to welcoming people back for solstice next year.”