Travel

Stealing Fire on the Longest Night

Kensington Market celebrates the winter solstice
  • Nov 30, 2013
  • 251 words
  • 2 minutes
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In honour of the shortest day of the year, the Sami once sacrificed white female animals. In parts of Asia, the locals celebrate with balls of sticky rice that symbolize reunion. Among the Kalash people of Pakistan, freshly showered men wrap up the day by having a little goat’s blood sprinkled on their faces. For the Ancient Greeks, it was all about drinking and merriment.

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The merriment piece comes a little closer to what the organizers of the annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice parade envision on Saturday, December 21. Dubbed a participatory lantern parade by its founders, the not-for-profit Red Pepper Spectacle Art community arts centre, the 24th edition of Kensington Market’s solstice celebration kicks off at 6:30 p.m. from the corner of Oxford and Augusta, just south of College. Costumed participants march to the beat of horns and drums as lantern holders light the way to Alexandra Park. Amidst an outpouring of laughter and good feeling, fire-breathers show off their skills, revellers walk on stilts, kids and adults alike bang pots and pans, and the idea of downtown community makes a whole lot of sense.

It’s a long, cold, dark winter. At the legendary Kensington Market, hundreds of participants and observers will be ringing in the first day of a new season, beckoning the sun with fire and drums. And who knows, this year, for the big finale, they may just burn Mayor Rob Ford in effigy.

For more information, visit: www.kensington-market.ca

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