The summer solstice a celebration of the longest day of the year, and consequently the shortest night. In the Northern Hemisphere it takes place between June 20 and 22, depending on the year. (The reverse happens in the Southern Hemisphere, where the longest day of the year occurs between December 20 and 22.) Humans may have observed the summer solstice as early as the Stone Age. Cultures around the world still celebrate the day with feasts, bonfires, picnics and songs.
Traditionally the solstice is celebrated in the UK by a gathering at Stonehenge. These large gatherings are unpopular due to the concern for damage to the protected site, despite best efforts of the organisers clean up crews are required for the rubbish left and the damage to the surrounding land. This year the gathering was held digitally allowing many to ‘attend’ that wouldn’t necessarily be able, despite not being quite the same as being there but at least you get to see the sun rising over the stones. Something I’ve only witnessed because we happened to be driving past at the time on route to the airport or London.
These unprecedented times are forcing many traditional gatherings to find alternative methods for events. Sporting and live events have taken the biggest hit as they rely on ticket sales to make them viable. The UFC, for example, have had to create an island to continue their events with Dana White working hard to ensure that they can continue to put events on, having watched some of them it doesn’t have the same atmosphere without the crowd, its a cold and clinical situation which at the moment for me lacks the excitement it did previously. I imagine there will be many that feel the same way about the virtual streaming of the solstice and it will be hard to accept that we may never get to experience such large gatherings again without the needs for strict social distancing.
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