Welcoming Back the Sun with Vancouver’s Lantern Festival

Posted on December 20, 2016

This Wednesday December 21st, the skies of Vancouver will ignite with the 23rd Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, as hundreds of people gather to illuminate the darkest night of the year. In celebration of the Equinox, and the beginning of winter, Granville Island, Yaletown and Strathcona bring you a captivating display of artistic expression through “inspired celebrations of the human spirit”.

Catch the lantern workshops in the late afternoon, followed by the procession departing at 6pm, and finishing off with the Fire Finale at 9:30pm in Ron Basford Park. Join in the festivities this week as a celebration of renewal, rejuvenation, and the rebirth of the Sun.

Fire rituals, drumming, and dancing are all symbolic of the traditional celebrations of Yule, and the return of the Sun to the Northern Hemisphere. As darkness triumphs over light, December 21st is the shortest day and longest night of the year. It is around this time that we surround ourselves with our loved ones, and give thanks for the abundance in our lives through feasting and laughter. It is a time when the darkness of the day and chill in the air turn our attention to the warmth of the fire and the importance of our closest relationships.

It’s hard to perceive this time of year as anything short of magical, as gratitude and generosity fill our hearts. We capture the sweetness of the present moment and savour this time like a pause from our regular lives. Before the start of a New Year and a new schedule, we are mindful of where we are and what we are grateful for. Yet there is more to the fire illuminating these lanterns than warmth and light. This element also symbolizes a renewal through destruction.

As we enter into the light half of the year, it is a time of introspection through reflection, and to disrobe of all that no longer serves us. This echoes through the theme of darkness as the Winter Solstice presents the perfect opportunity to give to the dying dark pieces of ourselves to take with it. Unloading our fears and folly into blackness, we are reborn again with the sun, feeling lighter and more prepared to begin a new cycle.

The fires of Yule burn bright this week, as our hearths are decorated with evergreen branches. Sipping tea and hot cider, we praise this time of year as a retreat for our spirit. Like the bears in hibernation, we enter into winter well rested and focused on great potential in the coming months. It is time for us too to plant our seeds of intention for the New Year, and for our next cycle around the Sun. Happy Solstice, Everyone!

For more information: 23rd Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival

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