Last night saw the annual ‘Burning the Clocks’ parade in Brighton to mark the winter solstice. Here at Arka we are very proud to have sponsored the event for the second year running and we feel so honoured to have been part of such a special evening.
Held on the shortest day of the year, this growing tradition marks the passing of time by ‘burning the clocks’ and welcoming in the new sun. We at Arka provide a service to support people who are going through some of their darkest days they will ever experience so the symbolism of this event is very meaningful for us.
For anyone who hasn’t attended the parade before, it is a truly magnificent sight: a wonderful collection of local folk carrying handmade paper lanterns through the streets of Brighton, down to the beach where all of the lanterns are then burnt in a bonfire. The community spirit is what makes this event so special, it is a coming together of so many different groups. Street performers, dancers, school children, community groups all making their way down the narrow lanes to the beat of multiple samba bands. And of course it attracts thousands of spectators too – people lining the streets to watch the ‘clocks’ being transported on their journeys.
Earlier on in December we offered the opportunity to anyone who has suffered a loss of a loved one in the last year to join us in a lantern making workshop. The lovely people at Same Sky who organise the whole event came to lead the workshop and guided the attendees in the making of their lanterns. It gave these people the chance to make a memorial for their loved one, that they could then carry in the parade. A film crew from ITV news attended the workshop and we were featured on the evening news bulletin. See the clip below:
Last night, the attendees who made their lanterns with us all came together in unity and carried their memorial lanterns at the front of the parade. They honoured the memory of their friend or family member with beautiful lanterns adorned with names, images and messages. And finally at the end of our walk, the lanterns were passed down a line of hands onto the beach to the bonfire. The names of their lost loved ones along with a message to send them on their way were then read out over loud speakers.
Here are a few beautiful words from Aimee Day, who attended the lantern workshop and who carried her memorial lantern in honour of her beloved Gran who passed away earlier this year:
“To be given the opportunity to take part in this special celebration was a real gift. The workshop gave me the time to reflect on all the funny things that meant so much to gran and I took the time to immerse myself in the memory and thought of her. The celebration itself was incredible a real celebration of light and life. I felt that this was a special ceremony just for me and gran. The lantern covered in things that reminded me of the love we shared and the things that symbolised her to me, the sunshine, the flowers, cups of tea, the birds and love. Her funeral was a time for the family to come together and for us to formally send her off but last night felt like it was the first time I had been able to say goodbye to her how I wanted to. With a few words read out over the tannoy, my love for her going up in bright burning light with a momentus firework display following the calling of her name. Thank you so much for giving me this gift Arka, you have managed it once again, a beautiful offering that got it just right. Perfect. Thank you xxx”
A big thank you to everyone who joined us and to Same Sky for organising such a beautiful event. Burning the clocks relies on crowd support to make sure the event happens every year. Visit the Same Sky website to see how you can donate.