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article imageStonehenge summer solstice livestreamed during COVID-19 pandemic

By Karen Graham     Jun 21, 2020 in Internet
English Heritage canceled this year's celebration of the summer solstice at Stonehenge due to a ban on mass gatherings - but live-streamed the sunrise on social media instead, although senior druid King Arthur Pendragon said it was "not very pagan."
Traditionally, the Neolithic monument in Wiltshire, in southwestern England draws around 10,000 people every year on or about June 21, to watch the sunrise on the longest day of the year, according to the BBC.
English Heritage, which oversees Stonehenge, live-streamed the sunrise instead, and according to the Associated Press, over 3.6 million watched as dawn broke at 4:52 a.m. Sunday (0352GMT, 11:52 p.m. EDT Saturday).
Even with the ban on traveling to Stonehenge, many dedicated Druids were determined to watch the sunrise in-person - gathering in a nearby field despite the early morning rain. Senior druid King Arthur Pendragon was undaunted by the rain, instead - acknowledging that it was "very wet."
Pendragon told the BBC, “You can’t cancel the sunrise. It’s going to happen, and we were there to celebrate it. It's not very pagan or druidic, to sit in front of a screen and watch what effectively is a false sunrise because all it is is a film."
Stonehenge director Nichola Tasker said: "It was a rather wet but nonetheless atmospheric sunrise this morning and we were delighted to see that so many people around the world were enjoying the unique experience of seeing the dawn at Stonehenge on midsummer's day," reports Sky News.
"We were sorry not to be able to open for solstice this year but we hope that our live stream offered the opportunity for people near and far to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time. We look forward to welcoming everyone back next year."
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