21 December 2023
As the year winds down and the winter solstice approaches, Brighton prepares for one of its most enchanting and unique celebrations – the Burning of the Clocks. This annual festival, a true spectacle of light and community spirit, takes place in the heart of the city, offering an unforgettable experience for both locals and visitors. Let’s delve into what makes the Burning of the Clocks a must-see event and how you can be a part of this magical tradition.
The Origin and Significance
The Burning of the Clocks was created in 1994 by the community arts charity Same Sky as a means to bring people together during the winter solstice. The festival is a symbolic gesture, where participants bid farewell to the passing year and welcome the new one with hope. This event stands out as it embraces a non-commercial approach to the festive season, focusing instead on community, creativity, and participation.
The Festival Unfolds
The evening begins with a dazzling lantern parade. Participants, many of whom have created their own lanterns in workshops leading up to the event, gather in the city centre. These lanterns, made from paper and willow, represent the year gone by. The parade, often led by local musicians and performers, winds its way through the streets of Brighton, creating a river of light that captivates onlookers.
A Spectacle of Light and Fire
As the parade reaches Brighton beach, the lanterns are passed onto a large bonfire, a symbolic act of letting go of the past and embracing the future. Accompanied by fire performances and live music, this moment becomes the festival’s climax, lighting up the winter sky and reflecting beautifully on the sea. The bonfire is not just a visual spectacle but also an emotional release, shared communally.
Participation and Community Spirit
What sets the Burning of the Clocks apart is its strong sense of community. The event encourages participation, allowing individuals to contribute to the parade and the creation of lanterns. It’s a celebration that belongs to the people, a cherished tradition that has grown with each passing year.
Sustainable and Eco-Friendly
The festival is also a nod to environmental consciousness. All materials used are biodegradable, and the event promotes a message of sustainability. In a world increasingly aware of environmental concerns, the Burning of the Clocks stands as a beacon of responsible celebration.
The Burning of the Clocks is more than just a festival; it’s a celebration of community, creativity, and new beginnings. Whether you’re a Brighton local or visiting from afar, this event offers a chance to participate in a unique tradition that captures the spirit of the city. So, mark your calendars for this winter solstice and be part of an event that’s as meaningful as it is mesmerising.
Plan Your Visit
To experience the Burning of the Clocks for yourself, book your stay with us at Drakes Hotel. Located conveniently in the heart of Brighton and right on the seafront, our hotel offers the perfect base to enjoy this spectacular event and explore all that Brighton has to offer during the festive season.