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SINGING IN THE RAIN–WEATHER FAILS TO DAMPEN SUMMER SOLSTICE

Traditional British weather was unable to dampen the spirits of 18,000 revellers who thronged Stonehenge at dawn to celebrate the summer solstice.

Chief druid Arthur Pendragon leads incantations during the summer solstice ceremony: Traditional British downpour for ancient Stonehenge midsummer rituals

Chief druid Arthur Pendragon leads incantations Photo: REUTERS

  The annual pagan celebration of the sun, on the longest day of the year, centred on the famous prehistoric monument in Wiltshire where an eclectic mix of devoted neo-pagans, travelling eco-warriors, party-goers and curious onlookers shrugged off the rain for a night of singing and dancing.

  The festivities, which included two pagan marriage ceremonies, were led by the self-styled King Arthur Pendragon, a veteran Druid.Clouds blocked out the sight of the sun rising in line with the ancient stone circle at 4.51am. But dawn on the longest day of the year was nevertheless greeted by ecstatic cheers from the crowd.
    Stonehenge, which is between 4,000 and 5,000 years old, has been the site of confrontations between worshippers, other revellers and police officers in the past but this year police praised the crowds for their “good natured” festivities with only 20 arrests.
A druid prays for peace during incantations at the summer solstice ceremony at Stonehenge on Salisbury plain in southern England June 21, 2011.   

A druid prays for peace. Photo: Reuters 

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