Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival Lights up this Saturday

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival Vancouver 2013

Image courtesy of ItzaFineDay | Flickr.com

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!

Celebrate the longest night of the year this Saturday, December 21st at the 20th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, the “secret” December event takes place across multiple neighbourhoods throughout the city. This mostly free community event works to transform four Vancouver neighborhoods to celebrate the returning of the sun.

Whether you find yourself strolling through a lantern maze,  making a lantern, or joining in with the fiery procession, these four little festivals emit a strong feeling of community and reflect upon the unique nature of each area. Most of the events start at 6pm and go until 9pm, but timing varies for each location.

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival Vancouver 2013

Image courtesy of the Secret Lantern Society

East Side – This all-ages dance party will have you celebrating Winter Solstice with live music at Astorino’s Hall (1739 Venables Street) for $10. If you’d prefer something quieter, you can also check out the Britannia Community Centre which will have a community celebration of the return of the light with live music and refreshments. (full details)

Yaletown – Hosting lantern workshops and multiple processions, Yaletown is not one to skimp out on the Winter Solstice festivities. The Gathering Place will host a day of celebrations with free food and live music, before lantern processions and fire dancing. You can also visit the Roundhouse for a stunning array of festivities including the mesmerizing Labryinth of Light (entrance costs $5). (full details)

Granville Island -You will be able to see a lantern procession as well as fire dancers on Granville Island, and you can warm up inside the False Creek Community Centre with an array of performances and music. Granville Island will also have a Labyrinth of Light, which you can walk through for $5. (full details)

Chinatown – Celebrate the Chinese winter solstice, dong zhi, which marks the rebirth of the yang qualities of light and energy. Start in the Strathcona neighborhood with a procession of light, and head to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen gardens, which will be absolutely filled with lanterns! Live performances, music, and other entertainment will accompany the stunning, (some times) life-size, lanterns that mark the coming Year of the Horse. (full details)

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival Vancouver 2013

Image courtesy of the Secret Lantern Society

Do you have any memories from the Winter Solstice lantern festival? Will you be celebrating the longest day of the year this year? Let us know in the comment section below!

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