Friday, June 26, 2009

Winter Solstice

Last week our family enjoyed one of our favourite nights of the year - Winter Solstice. For seven years now we have rugged up in our warm coats and hats and ventured out into the darkness of the starry Southern skies. We have gathered with our school and kinder communities - many who have now become close friends - and celebrated the darkness and the light. Every year as I witness the children holding aloft their lanterns as they walk and sing I am reminded of that every human being on this Earth has a light inside of them and that when we hold onto this light within, we shed light on our world and all those around us. It is truly moving, hushed and beautiful night as we make a string of stars through the inky dark.

At my youngest daughter's school, the Grade 6 children bring the light to the school with a procession of fire torches, with reverance, they slowly make their way into the middle of our gathering and finish in a spiral...then we all sing and hand in hand step forward on our lantern walk.

I walk with my lantern,
My lantern walks with me.
The starts up in heaven,
They shine on me.
My light goes out,
we all go home,
Labimmel, labahmmel, laboom!

Under the full moon light we dance;
spirits dance, we dance;
join in hands we dance;
join in souls rejoice.

And my favourite

The gift of the light, we thankfully take
For it shall not be, alone for our sake
The gift of the light, we thankfully bring
To shine on our way, this midwinter's day
This soft candle light, we'll keep in our heart
To warm us each one, when we are apart

This year, we had the great pleasure of experiencing two winter festivals. At my oldest daughter's school we gathered in the hall in complete darkness - it was a truly reverant and holy atmosphere to be in. It is my daughter's turn to be part of this next year, so I am saving up to talk about it until then....

Each year my girls have made a new lantern in their class - we have quite a lovely collection now: glass jars decorated with tissue paper, tin cans with nail hole patterns for the light to shine through, ballon shaped paper-mache lantern, and watercolour painted paper lanterns.

This is how T made her paper lantern:
  • Take a piece of quality water colour paper
  • Cut it to size, and fold over the top by 3 cm for a smooth edge
  • Fold the paper into a cylinder shape and measure the diameter of the bottom
  • Cut a circular piece of cardboard to the size of your diameter
  • Make cuts half the diameter of the cardboard circle in length along the bottom of your paper
  • Unfold your paper and decorate using watercolour paints
  • Fold and glue to the top edge and then fold into the cylinder shape and secure with glue (use a peg to keep it together while the glue dries).
  • Place the cardboard circle into the base of your cylinder then secure in place by pasting the cut pieces of the bottom of your lantern over the top
  • Make two holes in the top of your lantern and use plaited wool to make a handle
  • Glue a tealight candle in the base
  • Light your candle and enjoy the beautiful glow....


  1. Beautiful! I like how the 6th grade brings the torches.

  2. Thanks for sharing.
    I wished I took photo of our Lantern Festival.
    The Kindy spiral look so beautiful.

    The year 1 / 2 class put Autumn leave I think on wax paper or in between wax paper it was hard to see in the night but they looked so beautiful.

  3. What a BEAUTIFUL way to celebrate the Winter Solstice. This is such a beautiful post and now I can't wait for Winter Solstice in the N. hemisphere.

    Lisa :)

  4. How did you manage both? They were both organised on the same night (AGAIN, despite our requests each year).

    We were at the big kids school too - P was one of the Year 7's, singing on the stage. I didn't see you there!?


  5. Hi Suse
    BH only went for 45min and started at 5.30, so we were able to go straight from one to the another - although we only got standing room. The Year 7 singing was divine!

  6. Looks like a beautiful celebration!! Happy (belated) solstice to you.


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