Going to the lanterns

Well, unlike Saturday when I took the pictures of everyone getting ready for this year’s Lanterns Carnival and it was sunny, on Sunday it was raining when we got up, and still raining hours later.

And I kept an eye on Twitter in case yet another Liverpool big event this year was going to be cancelled by the weather. Remember we lost Africa Oyé and Day 2 of the Mathew Street Festival.

But the sun set, evening arrived, and we put on our wet weather gear and set off for Sefton Park with our friend Carly – to see what we could see…

Carly and Sarah leaving the house. Witch hat essential for all engagements this week.

And it wasn’t raining. As we walked through Greenbank Park and into Sefton Park, along with thousands of others, the ground was squelchy from 18 hours of steady rain. But it looked like it was going to be dry for the lanterns.

Getting to the lake…

It was sparkling with tiny lanterns.

Sarah and Carly bought special magic wands.

I didn’t but they used their’s on me…

To make me look as if I’m on the cover of a particularly bad heavy metal album. ‘War Pigs’ anyone?

Then as the drums and music thundered…

Around the lake the lantern parade began.

The wolf.

The dreaming girl.

And the hundreds of lanterns…

Made over the last few weeks…

By the people of Liverpool.

There was a shadow play show…

About the dreaming girl’s dreams. Which didn’t really work.

But then the lanterns were back…

The moon was high…

The rain stayed off…

There were sparklers on the lake.

And the park looked mysterious and magnificent.

And on the way home we bought chips. And as we finished them off, sitting on the wall outside our house the rain began again. Having stayed off exactly as long as we wanted it to. Well done!

So as you can see, it was lovely. But a word. Next year could we have a bit more straightforward magical Halloween scariness? Two years ago the whole thing worked magnificently. A coherent celebration of Samhain, the membrane between this life and the afterlife being especially thin just now, so the spirits can walk among us. All nonsense I know. But kind of elemental and everyone loves all that Day of the Dead stuff, everywhere on earth. Done like a ritual, we like rituals.

Instead, for the past two years the ‘big finishes’ have been arty ‘concepts’ that have dissipated the energy generated by the wonderful lantern parades that preceded them by having no clear story, no sense of ritual about them.

Maybe we can ditch the vague concepts. Maybe the dark, the park, the lanterns, the sparkly lake, the drums, the music and thousands of us celebrating Halloween scariness is enough? Just a thought.

And a piece of accidental art by Sarah to finish!

9 thoughts on “Going to the lanterns

  1. Fiona

    Glad the rain held off Ronnie, and the lanterns look fab! Yesterday was the first time in years that I didn’t go – partly because of last year’s random arty concept – we didn’t have a clue what was going on. And partly because last year was so chocka I really didn’t enjoy falling over people, prams and dogs in a packed field, because you were so squashed together you couldn’t see where you were going or who you were treading on. It felt like a bit of a victim of its own success. But it sounds like yesterday’s was much better for having the earlier and later parades, which sorted a lot of that out. Just the ‘arty concept’ to work on, then?!

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Yes, doing the earlier show definitely helped with the overcrowding. But so did the arty concept! People were just walking away.

      So a shame to end on a damp squib when people have put so much effort into the lanterns – and the general staging of it all around the park was brilliant.

  2. lizzieplot56

    I like arty concepts but I agree that it didn’t really work and I didn’t ‘get it’ …. until I got home and read the blurb on the Lantern Company website that explained it was the floating Dreamer’s dreams. Then I got it but a bit late to marvel at the surreal dreams/nightmares! If there was more of a connection between the Dreamer and the stage projection, like a higher stage so people could see, it would have helped tell the story. Incidentally, I had nightmares last night – bizarre passing of the spirits into my head – maybe it did work after all…

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Sorry to hear about the nightmares Liz, maybe all that stuff about the membrane between life and death being thin right now is true?!

      And I kind of did get that it was her dreams being illustrated up there, and that it was being performed live and wasn’t a film. I just didn’t think it was very good. And neither did all the people around us who gave up waiting for it to get better. Still, it’s not a matter of life and death is it. Or maybe it is?

  3. cheethamlibMandy

    The lanterns look gorgeous and the scariness of Halloween is what its all about. All of us enjoy being scared by rituals that are ancient in origin. But Sarah is a benign witch in spite of her superb hat ! I liked the ghostly image of the park.

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Hi Mandy And Lindsay, thanks for the scariness votes.

      And as for Sarah? ‘Mostly’ benign, I think I’d say. When you get ‘one of her looks’ you’ll feel good and properly frightened!


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