To mark the event of winter solstice, revellers and druids gathered at Stonehenge on Thursday and conducted religious services, chants and incantations.

This is the time of the year when the sun is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year. This implies shorter days and longer nights.

The day just after the event marks the onset of longer days which ultimately leads to the summer solstice in the month of June. Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most northern hemisphere cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

Every year, during this time, druids gather at Stonehenge to mark the occasion. For the 2011 celebrations, revellers and druids from across the world gathered at this monumental spot to observe and perform the Pagan rituals of winter solstice.

Although the shortest day of the year falls on December 21, yet this year, the druid and pagan community marked the first day of winter on December 22 because the modern calendar of 365 days a year - with an extra day every four years - does not correspond exactly to the solar year of 365.2422 days, according to the mirror.uk.

"Just as the ceremony came to an end, the sun came over the horizon, it was excellent. It has been a very jolly occasion. It's a good omen for the year ahead," BBC quoted Arch druid Rollo Maughfling stating about this year's ceremony.

Start the slideshow and take a look at the unique winter solstice celebrations at Stonehenge: