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Burning the Clocks in Brighton

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Every year people in Brighton attend the annual lantern parade called Burning the Clocks on December 21st - the shortest day on the calendar.

The event is designed as an "antidote to the excesses of the commercial Christmas" according to organisers, who hope the parade will restore some spirituality back into the festive season.

The parade sees attendees come together to make paper and willow lanterns, which they then carry through the seaside city to mark the end of the year.

The lanterns are taken to the beach where they are burned in a mark of respect for the year that has just passed and the months that lay ahead.

Event organisers say: "No lantern is better for its purpose than any other, all are unique to the maker and precious, but all are given up to be burnt to greet the lengthening days."

The idea is that attendees enjoying a day out invest their lanterns with their hopes, fears and wishes for the next year, which are then passed into the fire in the burning ritual.

The family solstice parade is followed by a huge and high quality bonfire and fire works display for revellers to enjoy.

Event organisers hope that the parade will become a new urban attraction that will fill the gap left by the lost rituals, both superstitious and non-superstitious, that capitalism and consumerism have replaced.

Brighton and Hove City Council organise the event, with support from local companies and individuals, and in the past the parade and fire works display has attracted audiences of more than 20,000 people.

In order to participate, attendees will need to send off for a lantern kit, which contains all the materials necessary and instructions for making the item. One kit makes two lanterns. Organisers urge those wanting to join in the ritual not to take their own home-made lanterns to the event as they are required to check each lantern to ensure the safety of the parade. Checking home-made items takes much longer.

Those with unchecked lanterns will unfortunately be refused entry to the event.

Furthermore, those visiting the Burning the Clocks event will also get the chance to enjoy a day out in Brighton - a popular tourist attraction with an entertainment pier, a plethora of bars and restaurants and many individual and high street shops in the Lanes area of the city.


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