Thousands of people swarmed over at the ancient megalith of Stonehenge on Tuesday to celebrate the dawn of the summer solstice — the longest day of the year.

More than 18,000 neopagans, new agers and curious visitors shouted and banged drums and tambourines at the Stonehenge circle, a group of giant stones in the middle of an English field, even though clouds blocked out the sunrise at 4:52 a.m. local time.

They braved heavy rain that fell across the Salisbury Plain, about 80 miles southwest of London, to mark the day. The solstice predates the Christian calendar and is a significant occasion for those who are Druids and Pagans, which are now recognized religions in Britain.

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