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Rocking fun at winter solstice

Revellers were celebrating the winter solstice at the prehistoric monument Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, southern England, yesterday.

Stonehenge is a celebrated venue of festivities during the winter solstice - the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere - and it attracts thousands of revellers, spiritualists and tourists.

As the ancient ring of megaliths is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset, druids - a pagan religious order dating back to Celtic Britain - believe Stonehenge was a centre of spiritualism more than 2,000 years ago, according to Britain's The Telegraph daily.

Archaeological evidence points to its construction between 3000 BC and 2000 BC .

It is said the winter solstice was more important to the people who built Stonehenge than the summer solstice.

It was in winter that cattle were slaughtered (so the animals would not have to be fed during the lean season) and much of the wine and beer was finally fermented.

The winter solstice happens every year when the the North Pole is tilted furthest - 23.5 degrees - away from the Sun, delivering the fewest hours of sunlight of the year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2015, with the headline 'Rocking fun at winter solstice'. Print Edition | Subscribe