When I think of the Winter Solstice I think of my trip to Ireland and visit to New Grange, a neolithic tomb built over 5000 years ago. It has major historical significance to the people who observed the Winter Solstice. New Grange was constructed by a farming community (neolithic) (over 5000 years ago making it older than Stonehenge by about 200 years) and the Great Pyramids.
New Grange – Aerial View
An ancient temple, it was a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest. The most interesting piece to this is that it was only illuminated around the Winter Solstice. During December 19th – 23rd the sun was positioned to allow the sun’s rays into its narrow chamber. Thousands of people register for a lottery selection process that would allow the winners entry into the chamber.
During May of this year I had the opportunity to crawl through the narrow passage way and stand where this took place. It was a tight squeeze but well worth it. It was amazing to be there, and learn of the history,I will never forget it.
On a side note, I just read that there was no sun to enter the chamber this year as it was cloudy and rainy.