Lantern Festival Lights Up the Longest Night of the Year on December 21

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival Vancouver 2015

The majestic labyrinth of Light
Image courtesy of ItzaFineDay |

During the winter months in Vancouver, the dark and rainy nights can become overwhelming to some. We’re still lucky to get quite a number of daylight hours during the winter season (especially on sunny days like today).

The shortest day of the year is coming up on Monday, December 21, celebrated as winter solstice, or the start of the winter season (um, what?!).

To help illuminate the night and bring some extra light into our lives, the 22nd Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival will be held on Monday evening. Brightening up the longest night with lanterns, fire, singing, drumming, music, and dancing during this free community event!

The Lantern Festival is spread out over three different neighbourhoods across Vancouver, reflecting the unique nature of each area. Each neighbourhood offers a slightly different schedule, allowing for an intimate and accessible community-based feel.

The event begins at 6:00 pm on Monday, December 21 with lantern processions in each neighbourhood followed by multicultural performances and activities in a variety of indoor venues.

lantern festival vancouver 2015

Image courtesy of TOTORORO.RORO Inside Vancouver Flickr Pool

The venues include:


At 6:00pm, a lively lantern procession will be led through the streets of Strathcona by the drums of African Crossing Drum Ensemble.  The route will go along Keefer Street and end at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

While the parade is free, but if you’d like to get into the garden you’ll have to pay $10 (or $15 for couple). The garden is open from 6:00 – 10:00pm and will become a dream-like setting with hundreds of whimsical lanterns decorating the paths. There will also be DIY activities, a tea ceremony, and lots of live music to keep the evening entertaining.

Granville Island / False Creek

The Granville Island / False Creek area will be the place for processions. Three seperate lantern parades will start from Vanier Park, Leg in Boot Square, and Granville Island Triangle Square all converging at Granville Island.

The False Creek Community Centre (1318 Cartwright Street) will host an indoor version of the festival with hot chocolate, performances, learning opportunities and dancing.

Meanwhile at Performance Works (1218 Cartwright Street) a huge Labyrinth of Light will be set up – inviting you to participate in a self-guided ceremony and meditation session as you wander through the labyrinth. Tickets cost $7 for the labyrinth of light.


Similar to Granville Island, there will be three processions converging on Yaletown, moving along the seawall and through historic Yaletown to meet at David Lam Park.

At the Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews) festival-goers are invited to join a wide array of indoor festivities, including drumming and dancing, and a Secret Lantern Garden.

There will also be a Labyrinth of Light set up at the Roundhouse, with over 600 beeswax candles and music with crystal singing bowls. If you’re looking for a zen-like experience, this is definitely the place to get your namaste on. Tickets are also $7 for the Labyrinth of Light.

lantern festival vancouver 2015

Image courtesy of ItzaFineDay |

If you would like to participate in the Lantern Festival by making a lantern, there are also many lantern-making workshops being held at the Roundhouse Community Centre & False Creek Community Centre. Workshops cost $10-$15 and are very fun. Basic materials are provided, but you’re encouraged to bring anything special to add (e.g. pressed leaves, flowers, other decorative elements).

If you’re feeling the winter-time blues this year, the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival is an amazing way to lighten up your spirits and join the community in brightening up the longest night of the year.

Plus, once December 21st is done, it’s all downhill to summer! Right?!

The 22nd Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival will be held from 6:00pm – 10:00pm in Vancouver on Monday, December 21, 2015. More information is available on the Secret Lantern website.

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