Was Stonehenge built to celebrate the winter solstice?
That’s one theory. The people who built the great monument were probably farmers, and they would have used Stonehenge to celebrate the most important festival of the year—the promise of the return of the growing season. The word solstice comes from the Latin sol, or “Sun,” and stitium, or “stoppage.” The Sun stops on the solstice (this year, December 21), then begins to move again. After the winter solstice, the days gradually grow longer. The priests, or shamans, at the time of the building of Stonehenge would have called the community leaders together to celebrate and mark the continuing cycle of the seasons and the fact that they were not heading into an endless night.