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How the longest day of the year is celebrated at Stonehenge and around the world

The summer solstice commemorates the longest day of the year, with this year’s phenomenom falling on 21 June in the northern hemisphere, its most common position.

It marks the moment when the Earth’s poles at their maximum tilt towards the sun, and represents the beginning of summer according to the astronomical calculation.

As well as the first day of summer, it is also, contradictorily, known by many as the first day of summer, and has prompted fascination since prehistory, with many early rituals still existing today.

What happens at Stonehenge on the summer solstice?

In the UK the iconic image of druids gathering at Stonehenge has become synonymous with the summer solstice, which has been associated with paganism for thousands of years.

Known by pagans as Litha, the solstice marks the only day that the rising run reaches the middle of the stones when shining on the formation’s central altar, and draws large crowds each year.

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