Winter Solstice Lantern Festival 2012

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Celebrate the change of seasons on Friday December 21st on Granville Island, in South East False Creek, in Yaletown, Chinatown, and on the East Side with the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. Presented by the Secret Lantern Society, this free family event will have lanterns, singing, dancing, and a processions through town.

Granville Island

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival 2012Starting at 4:00pm you can stop in to the False Creek Community Centre (1318 Cartwright St) to make a lantern for $10, which will just take 30 minutes. Processions will leave right at 6:00pm from three different locations: Leg-In-Boot Square, Granville Island Triangle Square, and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.

At Leg-In-Boot Square the crowd will split, with some heading toward Granville Island and others heading east to Creekside. When the three processions meet on Granville Island they will be greeted by the traditional torch-lit Song Of Welcome by The Vancouver Morris Men. The Carnival Band and the Rhythm Spirit Drummers will combined to lead everyone over to Ron Basford Park where the Vancouver Fire Collective will weave their fiery magic and a giant fire sculpture of the rising sun lights the darkest night.

Returning to the False Creek Community Centre at 7:30pm, festivities will continue until 9:30pm with the Roma Swing Trio, music from the Carnival Band, singing from Indian Time Drum Group, and storytelling from Mind Of A Snail Puppet Co. You could also head into Performance Works on Granville Island at 7:30pm for a community dance.

South East False Creek

Starting at 4:00pm you can stop into the Creekside Community Centre (1 Athletes Way) to make a lantern for $10, which will just take 30 minutes. The procession will leave at 6:00pm from Leg-In-Boot Square and return to Creekside for more festivities at 7:00pm until 10:00pm. Hot chocolate, live music, stories from Lost And Found Puppet Company, and more.


Starting at 4:00pm you can stop into the Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews) to make a lantern for $10, which will just take 30 minutes. Processions will set out from three locations: Cooper’s Park, Emery Barnes Park, and the Vancouver Aquatic Centre. Lead by the drums of Tege Fo Collective along the seawall as well as through historic Yaletown, the processions will converge in David Lam Park where they will be welcomed with a spectacular fire performance by Fire Tribe.

Head back inside at the Roundhouse from 7:00pm to 10:00pm for live music, dancing, drumming, lantern creations, stories, and more. Sit beneath the giant Tree of Life in the Secret Lantern Garden, enter the realm of myth and legend in a fabric and light installation created by Heather Jones with Zee Kesler, or be entranced by the aerial dance of Kira Schaffer and Colleen Yuen of Firebelly Performance Society. From Russian gypsy musicians and dancers to traditional English folk dances of the Tiddley Cove Morris. It will be a grand celebration.

Tonight in Vancouver: The 17th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Photo credit: [travelfox] on Flickr

18th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at the Vancouver Chinese Garden Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Photo credit: & mountainhiker on Flickr


Starting at 4:00pm you can stop into the Strathcona Community Centre (601 Keefer St) to make a lantern for $10, which will just take 30 minutes. The procession will head out from the Strathcona Community Centre at 6:00pm with Russell Shumsky & Friends on the drums, winding through the streets of Strathcona and ending up at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Festivities will continue until 10:00pm with drummers, stories, a choral performance by The Real Treble Makers, and raise your spirits in the Winter Solstice Music Ceilidh featuring Toddish McWong and the Black Bear Rebels & Friends.

East Side

The evening begins in three neighbourhood homes that will have lanterns and performers before processions head out. 2256 Parker St (lantern workshop, with music by Savoir Faire), 2257 Parker St (music by Taryn the Tailor), 2162 Parker St (music and shadow puppetry by Erica Mah + the Sargasso Season). Tickets are required for these shows and they have sold out in the past. Email info[at] to pre-register for the show or workshop you would like to attend.

Immediately after these house concerts follow the wild Roma-influenced music of Orkestar Slivovica as they lead you in a procession down Parker Street, straight to the Britannia courtyard for more music, hot chocolate and the on-going Labyrinth of Light. Events at the Britannia Community Centre (1661 Napier St) are free for the whole family. From 6:00pm to 10:00pm you can enjoy the lanterns, dance, sing, and be entertained.

Labyrinths of Light will only be at the East Side and Yaletown events this year.

Labyrinth of Light - 2011 Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Photo credit: eych-you-bee-ee-ahr-tee on Flickr

The Secret Lantern Society reveals details about the event every now and then on their website, keeping a bit of mystery going until the very day. Donations for the society are accepted at all events.

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