Secret Lantern Society Winter Solstice Festival

December 21st was the longest night of the year, or the winter solstice. To celebrate, I headed out to Granville Island for the Secret Lantern Society‘s Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. The festival has three locations, typically, in Yaletown, Strathcona, and Granville. This year I chose Granville, though next year I might try out Yaletown! Yaletown and Granville Island converge at the end for a grand finale of fire dancing at Ron Basford Park.

The event was absolutely amazing. There was a carnival band that made me feel like I was right back in the French Quarter; the Vancouver Morris Men, who sang traditional English folk songs and performed a Christmas “mummers play” in which Saint Nick and Beelzebub made an appearance; Zlatna Mountain, a harmony of singers who performed an arrangement of Balkan songs; community square dancing with Paul Silveria and the Coachmen; a labyrinth made out of paper lanterns; and of course, the fire dance at the end. There was so much to do, and all of it was entertaining and top-notch performance. I was alone (NJ had to work) but I felt fully in the space and engaged, and all of this, for only $7 (free if you don’t want to see the labyrinth). I’ll definitely be going next year!

8 thoughts on “Secret Lantern Society Winter Solstice Festival

  1. The lanterns are beautiful, of course, but the variety of entertainment is positively delightful. I’m always ready for a mix of music, and who wouldn’t be interested when some Morris Men show up? Your gallery of photos really does provide a sense of how much fun you had.

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    1. My real shock about the Morris Men (who I had never knew of before this event) was that when they sang their old folk songs, a lot of the elementary school students knew the words and sang along. I guess it must be a regional thing, because they did not exist in the South!


  2. I loved my visit to the Granville Market years ago. I have a lovely teapot I bought from a crafter when I was there. I am guessing that all of Vancouver is magical in the winter.

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  3. This sounds stunning! From an aesthetic perspective as well as a cultural one. The music, the outfits, the lights, the fire dancing… If I lived near Vancouver, this is something I’d definitely want to see during the holiday season. Thanks so much for sharing it with us, Ariel!

    (P.S.: I think I’m caught up on all your holiday posts now…?)

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