The winter solstice marks the gentle shift of our planet’s eternal relationship with the sun. Different cultures around the world celebrate the event, often incorporating art, music and illumination. Vancouver’s annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, December 21st, is a free event illuminating the longest night of the year with lantern processions, fire art, singing, drumming, music and dancing.
While there are five celebration spots around town, Granville Island is the handiest for Kitsilano. Festivities launch at 6:00 pm with a big drum jam in Leg-in-Boot Square, when the crowd splits in two, with one group heading east to Creekside and the other heading West to Granville Island. The processions converge on Granville Island and are greeted by the traditional torch-lit Song Of Welcome by The Vancouver Morris Men.
The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days which is celebrated globally. Vancouver’s festival honours traditions from a variety of cultures. Bring your lantern to Leg-in-Boot Square tonight. The Winter Solstice Lantern Festival is a family-friendly event that draws all ages. I plan to attend for the first time with my 7 week old son and 70 year old mother-in-law. Hope to see you there!
Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, Secretlantern.org
Last modified: December 23, 2011