Thousands at Stonehenge for summer solstice

Thousands of modern-day druids, pagans and partygoers were converging on Stonehenge late Wednesday as people across the northern hemisphere prepared to welcome the summer solstice - the longest day of the year. The sun will rise at 03.58 GMT Thursday, welcomed by an estimated 20,000 people expected to crowd around the ancient circle of stones in Wiltshire, southern England, to witness the event. Solstice celebrations were a highlight of the pre-Christian calendar and in many countries bonfires, maypole dances, and courtship rituals linger on as holdovers from Europe's pagan past. In more recent years, New Age groups and others have turned to Stonehenge to celebrate the solstice, and the World Heritage Site has become a magnet for men and women seeking a spiritual experience - or just to have a good time.