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!