The winter solstice was on the weekend for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. We celebrate the Solstice each year with a little festival at home. Homemade pumpkin soup, rice pudding and hot chocolate with marshmallows.
The highlight of our celebration is our lantern walk. Around the backyard when we had one, now it's around our block of flats in the city. It's dark outside and the stars are shining. Our breath is frosting in the night air and my girls are excited with the novelty of bring outside, at night, in the dark. We sing a little song, learnt from the girls' playgroup, as we walk.
"I'm walking with my lantern
My lantern's walking with me
Above you see the star light
Here my lantern you see
The light shines bright
Shines through the night
La bimma la bomma la boom, boom, boom
La bimma la bomma la boom, boom, boom"
A little bit of light and some magic on the shortest night of the year. Here's how to make your very own lanterns, so you too can have some magic and light of your own.
These lanterns are created from homemade watercolour paintings. You need to make your paintings the day before so they have time to dry before you turn them into lanterns. Allow 1 sheet of paper per 2 lantern bodies. You will need an additional sheet for all the handles.
Lightly rinse your paper with cool water. Drain off excess in sink.
There may still be too much water on your page, sponge off any excess.
Get creative and paint your masterpiece.
When finished, lie flat until dry.
Lantern template (see pic above)
Glue and/or double sided tape
Beeswax tealight candles
Trace lantern outline on wrong side of painted page. Doing it on the right side like I did, means you end up with pencil lines on your lovely painting. Not terribly noticeable but I like it so you can't see those pencil lines.
Position so you get two lanterns from your sheet.
Use a separate sheet to make all the handles.
Cut out lanterns.
Using a ruler, fold along the lines.
Oil the lantern, leaving the shaded areas of the template clear for the glue. Once oiled, the paper won't glue. Is this happens to you, just staple it in place.
Rub in loads of oil. It soaks into the paper, making it translucent and glow beautifully at night with a lit beeswax candle inside.
Glue the edge, two small base flaps and one large base flap. I find double sided tape great for the edge.
Assemble lantern by folding into a tube shape. Fold flaps in, leaving large base flap unglued until you have done the side flaps.
Staple handle in place. I didn't oil the handles for this batch because I didn't have time. I don't think it makes a difference either way with the handles.
Light your tea light candle and pop into lantern. This can be tricky - tongs are very useful.
Enjoy your winter light!