Druids gathered at Stonehenge to mark the winter solstice, which officially occurred at 5.30am on 22 December 2011. The shortest day of the year, days become progressively lighter after this time, which for many is a cause of celebration.
During the winter solstice the sun is closer to horizon than any other time of the year. Winter solstice has traditionally been a day of great significance, with its connotations of birth and rebirth.
Christmas is the historical date of the Roman winter solstice. It’s traditional name is Brumalia which comes from the latin “Bruma” meaning shortest day.
During this year’s winter solstice more than 1000 people watched the sunrise at Stonehenge, while candles were placed round the white horse on a hillside at Alton Barnes, near Devizes in Wiltshire.
Arch druid Rollo Maughfling told the BBC that it was a "good omen for the year ahead" that the sun rose after the dawn ceremony. "It has been a very jolly occasion” he added.