The spark of a new tradition in Guiseley

Wharfedale Observer: The band blasts out the music for the carol singers around the Christmas tree The band blasts out the music for the carol singers around the Christmas tree

A new Christmas tradition has been launched in Guiseley with the town’s first community lantern parade.

The atmospheric event, organised by the Friends of Parkinson’s Park, took place on Sunday, December 15, and was followed by carol singing at the cross.

Participants met in Parkinson’s Park and paraded with lanterns down to Town Gate and the cross, where they were joined by Guiseley Brass Band, who played carols.

Mulled drink, mince pies and Christmas buns were given out.

Jennifer Kirkby, from the Friends of Parkinson’s Park, described the turnout as fantastic and she thanked everyone who came out to make the event a success, including all the ward councillors and the area’s MP Stuart Andrew.

“Some people passing by in their cars, even stopped to join in,” she said.

“It seems the children really enjoyed coming to the park, in the gathering dusk, with lanterns and watching people approach the decorated tree in the park from all directions was like watching a gathering of the tribes.

“It was lovely to see so many different types of lanterns and the thought that had gone into making them,” she added.

The event aimed to establish a new Guiseley tradition as part of the 2013 Heritage Lottery Fund All Our Stories Project.

Jennifer said: “Now we have experimented with the idea and know it works and people like it, we will aim for the same next year, with lantern-making workshops and more drums on the route.” She said lantern parades were becoming popular in towns and cities across Britain during late autumn and winter.  “These hark back to older customs around Samhain and Yule that were built into the Christian festivals of All Saints/Souls and Advent/Christmas.

“The purpose of all of them is being to encourage light, warmth and salvation to return again to nourish crops and people – while a little ‘misrule’ is in order.”

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