Monday, December 21, 2009

Secret Lantern Society Winter Solstice Lantern Festival tonight in Vancouver

Vancouver's Secret Lantern Society's annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival has to be the most beautiful, inclusive communal solstice celebration in the world:
One festival, five neighbourhoods

The dance of the sun and earth has inspired celebrations of the human spirit, expressed through art and music, throughout the ages. Honouring many cultural traditions, the annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival illuminates the longest night of the year with lanterns, fire, singing, drumming, music, and dancing.

On December 21st come celebrate the return of the sun with a glowing constellation of lanterns shining in five Vancouver neighbourhoods. These five little festivals are community-based and reflect the unique nature of each neighbourhood. Intimate and accessible, each invites participation and each holds special attractions.

People carry colorful, handmade lanterns visible across Falls Creek from different venues--including Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens (perfect yin & yang)--to the rhythms of street bands. Honoring Vancouver's multicultural heritage, performers and musicians of First Nations, Chinese, Persian, Ukrainian, Japanese, African, English, African, and Muslim heritage entertain solstice-goers.

Combined with its attunement to the natural rhythm of the seasons--the celebration of the return of the sun, the source of light and energy that makes life possible on earth, on the darkest night of the year--and all that amazing creativity, this celebration brings together the manifestation of so much that is beautiful in life. Many Vancouverites work at community and peace building: healing the city's traumatic history that includes the head tax discrimination against Chinese immigrants; the removal and incarceration of Japanese Canadians in the 1940's; redressing Pacific War history; and supporting the Global Article 9 Movement that aims to end ongoing and prevent future war trauma.

(Labyrinth of Light--The labyrinth has long been used for meditation, prayer and sites of ritual in various cultures around the world. The winter solstice labyrinth invites you to warm yourself in a self-guided ceremony intended to help release old attachments and envision new possibilities as the darkest night of the year births a new season. Image: Secret Lantern Society)

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