Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


Burning of the Clocks Wednesday 21 December 2011

The nights are closing in fast in the run up to the shortest day of the year and with it the annual winter solstice celebrations with Brighton's Burning of the Clocks 2011.

Having become a regular fixture on the winter calendar, this free event sees a procession through the streets of Brighton with imaginatively crafted paper lanterns wending their way to the beach to be burnt on a bonfire.

Beginning at around 6:30 pm the route heads along North Street, Ship Street, Bartholomews, East Street before finishing at Madeira Drive. For the best viewing position, the organisers Same Sky recommend going straight to Madeira Drive to watch the parade from there.  Although it is a relatively new tradition its ethos and purpose make it feel ancient and pagan. Something to do with parading through the streets as part of a community, lit by candlelight and ending with a ritualistic bonfire on the beach as drummers beat out the end of time. Everyone is welcome to join in and make a paper lantern to carry through the city and then burn on the beach as their own token for the end of the year. As each lantern is hand-crafted each one becomes a unique offering representing the makers wishes, hopes and fears, to be passed into the fire. The organisers say, ‘once we burn our hopes and fears the heat of the fire brings up the new sun, the pendulum starts, the clocks tick and all is saved. The silence is broken by the cheers and music of the new solar year’.

Burning of the Clocks, bonfire 2011

Burning of the Clocks Fireworks

Some might say, only in Brighton could such a pagan event take place. But I don’t, I love a bit of hocus pocus.

However, without donations it looks like this may be the last time this magical event takes place, so please donate and help this new tradition to survive.

Wednesday 21 Dec 6.30pm
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