Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade
The ritual of the Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade began in 1984 when people gathered to make a journey with their candle-lit lanterns around Jamaica Pond. In preparation for the Lantern Parade, Spontaneous Celebrations and community members host lantern making workshops in which youth and adults of all ages create beautiful hand made lanterns from recycled soda bottles decorated with colorful tissue paper. The festival also involves local businesses who sell hand made lanterns in their shops. By the night of the festival, several thousand people have made lanterns (and anyone who hasn't can purchase one the night of the parade). Each year approximately 4,000 people arrive at Jamaica Pond at sunset with their lanterns; many children arriving in full Halloween costume as well. The parade proceeds around the pond, bringing a trail of bouncing lights into the darkness that can be seen from all directions. This beautiful autumn evening ceremony has become an annual tradition in our community on the last Sunday in October. The Lantern Parade has it's cultural roots in Japanese lantern making and Dutch tradition. It reflects our dedication to building community by exploring old and creating new cultural traditions.