The shortest day and the longest night of the year is rapidly approaching, December 21st, and in England this has always been a special day. The Norse people spent this time of year feasting and making merry, much as we do today! Traditional Yule customs such as the Yule log which is still used in some places today, decorating an evergreen tree, and wassailing, or singing carols, can all be traced back to our Norse ancestors.
The Celts of the British Isles celebrated the winter solstice, and although the exact nature of these celebrations isn’t known today, we do know that the tradition of gathering mistletoe originated with them. It is speculated that the winter solstice was a special time at a very important historical monument in England, Stonehenge. Stonehenge is one of the world’s most well-known prehistoric monuments, erected about 5,000 years ago. It is an important World Heritage site. It is thought that it had religious significance for the Druids and that it was a time of religious observance, feasting, and celebration. Every year people still gather at Stonehenge at dawn on the winter solstice and watch the sun rise over the stones.
People come from all over the world to celebrate the winter solstice at Stonehenge and it is said to be a truly beautiful and remarkable experience to enjoy. Here at Fleetham Lodge we love finding uniquely British experiences to share with our immersion students; either by telling you about them or taking you there and experiencing them together. Such a big part of making your English language immersion course live for you and have a long-lasting impact, both on your language skills and on your life, is finding these kinds of British experiences to share with you.