This is a very successful, family-centred, all-can-enjoy event, organised by the Same Sky Community Arts Group. With around 2,000 in the procession and around 20,000 spectators Burning the Clocks is Brighton's community winter warmer. Its lanterns, large and small, its samba bands, and all ite partiipants, young and old, have become an essential part of Brighton's Christmas celebrations. Held on the day of the winter solstice, it has now been going for over 20 years.
Each year the lantern making has a theme, but all somehow related to our concept of time.
In these years of massive cuts in local govenment spending, Burning the Clocks survives financially on a mix of corporate funding, donation, and crowd-source fund raising.
Same Sky have published what amounts to a manifesto which explains the event, and which is well worth quoting:
"Burning the Clocks is an antidote to the excesses of the commercial Christmas. People gather together to make paper and willow lanterns to carry through their city and burn on the beach as a token for the end of the year. 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.
Burning the Clocks combines a family centred, workshop based, seasonal parade with a high quality fire show and fireworks for the whole city. The lantern makers become part of the show as they invest the lanterns with their wishes, hopes, and fears and then pass them into the fire. Same Sky are masters at creating new urban rituals to replace those traditional festivals that were lost in the dash to be new and non superstitious.
These new events take elements of the past…. the delight in seasons… the celebration of place and home…the giving and sharing of thoughts and wishes… and put them into a secular format that can be enjoyed by all regardless of faith or creed."
The parade begins in New Road, next to the Pavilion Gardens, and then follows a route up North Street and then through the Old Town to the seafront, ending in Madeira Drive, and a large bonfire and fireworks display.
2015 Burning the Clocks
On Monday, 21 December
Organiser: Same Sky