Winter solstice

An important event to mark the beginning of winter has long taken place at Stonehenge in the Salisbury Plains. According to excavations made nearby, the builders of Stonehenge had had great feasts on 21 December and the day had been even more important for them than 21 June (Sumer Solstice).

If Stonehenge had been a giant clock or calendar, on the shortest day of the year Neolithic people would move back to their huts and build a fire themselves as a reminder of sunlight and warmth.

Since 1993, residents of Brighton (and Hove) have marked 21 Deember with “Burning the Clocks”, a parade along Brighton’s lanes and by the sea. No clocks are burned though, but lanters and symbolic figures made of tissue and willow are made and at the end of the ceremonial walk, placed into a bonfire. This procedure symbolises the end of the year.


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