The Burning of the Clocks is a winter solstice tradition that sees a 1,500-strong crowd with their lanterns parade through the streets of Brighton on the longest night of the year, December 21st.
The annual event has been going since 1994 and is created and run by Same Sky, one of the largest community arts organisations in the southeast.
Lantern kits go on sale in mid November. They cost £30 and with it you get enough bendable willow to create two lanterns along with tissue paper, glue and black paper to decorate them with. You also get four wristbands that will allow you and your group into the parade and a ring-side spot for the all-important lantern burning and firework show later on.
Crowds assemble on New Street on Brighton’s fashionable ‘Lanes’ area around 6pm.
Each year there’s a theme. In 2018 it was ‘remembrance’ and lanterns were decorated accordingly.
Crowds line the streets, the lanterns are taken on a circuitous route through the city and on towards the beach.
The lanterns come in various shapes and sizes but there was indeed a clock or two to be burned. The clock symbolises the passing of time, the longer days to come and, in pagan tradition, fire has long been associated with rebirth and renewal.
This year’s winter solstice coincided with a full moon, which occasionally managed to peek out from behind the clouds. This is a rare occurrence indeed and won’t happen again until 2094!
Once on the seafront, each lantern is handed over and passed down to the bonfire.
When all the lanterns are in, it’s time to light the bonfire.
It doesn’t take long for the willow and tissue paper to burn. It’s then time for fireworks…
Everyone assembled along Marine Drive but some got better seats than others.