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Celebrate the Winter Solstice: Secret Lantern Society

  • Dec 21, 2012 · 5:00 PM

Phoenix Takes Flight

I have added a full schedule of all the events that will happening that evening. If enough people want to do the concerts over on Parker Street, I'll set up a separate meetup for that event. Let me know.

Join me on Friday December 21, 2012 at Science World at 5:00pm to celebrate the Winter Solstice as we will walk over to Emery Barnes Park to watch the procession starting at 5:30 pm. There will be three processions to Cooper's Park, Emery Barnes Park and the Vancouver Aquatic Centre. These three lantern processions are led by drummers along the seawall as well as through historic Yaletown to converge in David Lam Park where they are welcomed with a spectacular fire performance at 6:00 pm.

For those people who want to show up earlier, there is free music and food at the Gathering Place (609 Helmcken) from 1:00 - 5:00 pm.

This is a free family event. Donations gratefully accepted.

We will then head over to the Roundhouse Community Centre at 181 Roundhouse Mews ( to check out the indoor festivities as they welcome back the Labyrinth of Light. I'll announce the different festivities when I receive more information.

Around 8:00pm I plan to walk over to Sun Yat Sen gardens to check out the lanterns in the garden. Please let me know if anyone is interested in doing this. If I have enough time, I may go over to Britannia to check out the Labyrinth of Light as they are opened until 11:00pm.

There will also be a Labyrinth of Light:

LABYRINTH OF LIGHT 6:00pm - 11:00pm

The labyrinth has long been used for meditation, prayer and sites of ritual in various cultures around the world. Created with over 700 pure beeswax candles, 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.

For those who like to plan ahead, you can reserve a timed spot in the labyrinth by clickinghere and searching keyword "Labyrinth". Be sure to pick a time slot at the location you want – the labyrinth takes place at the Roundhouse Community Centre and Britannia.

Here is some information about the Winter Solstice as found in the following link:

The winter solstice is the solstice that occurs in winter. It is the time at which the Sun is appearing at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. [2] In the Northern Hemispherethis is the Southern solstice, the time at which the Sun is at its southernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs on December 21.

The solstice itself may have been a special moment of the annual cycle of the year even during neolithic times. Astronomical events, which during ancient times controlled the mating of animals, sowing of crops and metering of winter reserves between harvests, show how various cultural mythologies and traditions have arisen. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites such asStonehenge in Britain and Newgrange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise (Newgrange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge). Significant in respect of Stonehenge is the fact that the Great Trilithon was erected outwards from the centre of the monument, i.e., its smooth flat face was turned towards the midwinter Sun.[7]

Stonehedge at Sunrise

The winter solstice may have been immensely important because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months. Starvation was common in winter between January and April, also known as "thefaminemonths". In temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began. Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was almost the only time of year when a supply of fresh meat was available. The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but the beginning of the pre-Romanized day, which falls on the previous eve.[8]

Since the event is seen as the reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common and, in cultures using winter solstitially based cyclic calendars, the year as reborn has been celebrated with regard tolife-death-rebirth deities or new beginnings such as Hogmanay's redding, a New Year cleaning tradition. Also reversal is yet another usual theme as in Saturnalia's slave and master reversals.

Here is a full list of all the events that will be going on:


1661 Napier St.


6:00 - 7:00pm

You may want to start the evening with an intimate concert in one of 3 beautiful neighbourhood homes. Each house will feature performers and have lanterns for sale so you can join the lantern procession immediately following the concert. Entry by donation.

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

Last year's shows and workshop were completely sold out, so to guarantee yourself a seat, email [masked] to pre-register for the show or workshop you want. Seating is first come first serve. Full concert and performer details at:

Immediately after these house concerts follow the wild Roma-influenced music of Orkestar Slivovica as they lead you in a wonderful street procession down Parker St. straight to the Britannia courtyard for more music, hot chocolate and the on-going Labyrinth of Light.

Bring your friends, families and lanterns to celebrate the return of light in your neighbourhood!

You will not want to miss the fantastic Labyrinth of Light glowing all night long with the beauty of 700 pure beeswax candles.

LABYRINTH OF LIGHT 6:00pm - 11:00pm


181 Roundhouse Mews
7:00 - 10:00pm

Free music and food at the Gathering Place (609 Helmcken) from 1:00 – 5:00pm, with a procession at 5:30 to Emery Barnes Park.


Cooper’s Park
Emery Barnes Park
Vancouver Aquatic Centre

These three lantern processions are led by drummers along the seawall as well as through historic Yaletown to converge in David Lam Park where they are welcomed with a spectacular fire performance.

Once again the Roundhouse hosts a stunning array of indoor festivities and welcomes back the Labyrinth of Light!


1318 Cartwright St.
7:30 - 9:30pm


Leg-In-Boot Square

Granville Island Triangle Square
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

Starting with a big drum jam in Leg-in-Boot Square, the crowd splits in two with one group heading east to Creekside and the other heading West to Granville Island. Expect fond farewells and just a touch of chaos!

The 3 processions converge on Granville Island and are greeted by the traditional torch-lit Song Of Welcome by The Vancouver Morris Men.


1218 Cartwright St.
Performances at: 7:30 - 9:30pm


1 Athletes Way
7:00 - 10:00pm


Leg-In-Boot Square

Starting with a big drum jam in Leg-in-Boot Square, the crowd splits in two as one group heads West to Granville Island and the other heads East to Creekside. Expect fond farewells and just a touch of chaos!


601 Keefer St., Vancouver, BC, V6A 3V8
6:00 - 10:00pm

578 Carrall St.

6:00 - 10:00pm

Celebrate the Chinese winter solstice, dong zhi, which marks the rebirth of the yang qualities of light and energy. This year the Garden comes alive as never before!

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