From a Pagan viewpoint, the Winter Solstice represents the rebirth of the Lord, the Sun, in the eternal cycle. It signifies the end of the darkness, as the days slowly but surely get longer and life returns as the Earth once again is warmed.
Of all the things I miss about living on the North Coast, I think the Winter Solstice Lantern Parade rates the highest. Every year on the Solstice we would line the streets of Lismore to watch the beautiful spectacle parade down the main streets. The whole community was involved; school kids, local charities, groups and businesses. Everyone carried a lantern, ranging from small triangular lanterns decorated by little school kids, to huge dragons and Unicorns and earth mothers, some taking three or four people to carry them! The groups would be interspersed with different bands and musicians creating a celebratory atmosphere.
We'd follow the procession down through the town to the river, where a spectacular firey finale would await. Indi was only a baby the first time we went, but I still remember that awe-filled look in her eyes at the fireworks. Once the smoke had cleared, everyone strolled back into town to celebrate with a street party with market stalls, food, street entertainers and of course music!
So, in leiu of such a warming event, I've decided to create some little lanterns of our own to welcome the return of the sun.
I've used the Star Lantern Tutorial from CHILDHOOD MAGIC to create these lanterns (thankyou Ariella!)
First we painted the circles. We just used cheapo water paints.
Here are the finished designs. I painted both sides of mine (the red spiral one and the central sun/flower one), but Indi only painted one side of hers (the rainbow serpent-looking one). She decided that catching lizards basking in the winter sun was more exciting than painting!
Once the paint was dry, we painted the paper with olive oil to make it translucent. I did this on newspaper to minimise mess. We painted both sides of the circles (ideally, we'd have sourced some proper translucent paper, but what can I say ... I'm disorganised, a cheapskate, and I like a challenge!)
Blot off the excess oil as best you can, then hang them somewhere inside to dry a bit.
Once they are dry(-ish) it is time to fold! The actual folding part was bit tricky for Indi (almost 5), but she enjoyed watching. She took the job of cutting the edges off the circle to make it an octagon.
About halfway through. I can appreciate how origami is such an addictive pastime :)
And here is the end result!
I have to get some electric candles to light them up for our weekend solstice celebration; real candles will be too dangerous considering that they are paper soaked in oil!
BUT I'm terribly impatient and just couldn't wait to see what they'd look like lit up ...
So I snuck outside with a candle and the camera while the kids were playing with Craig ...
Beautiful, don't you think?