Shortest day of the year
JUNE 21 is officially the darkest day of the year for 2018, and if pagan rituals are your thing then this is a big deal.
Also known as midwinter, the solstice is an astronomical phenomenon which has long held cultural significance.
Often used as a marker for celebrations of rebirth, festivals and rituals, the winter solstice is also thought to be the reason Stonehenge was originally built some 5000 years ago.
It is thought that the structure is used to mark solstices and equinoxes, because it is directly aligned toward the sunset during the winter solstice.
During the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the sun rises directly over the Hell Stone.
In years gone by, the winter solstice was often known as a time to make animal sacrifices – although this has been interpreted as a pagan ritual, it is likely the practice first began as a marker for farmers to slaughter livestock that they did not want to feed through the cold winter months.