Primal Winters: A City of Lights

I love the lead up to the winter months with all the fire displays, lantern parades and theatrical street carnivals. Last night was Truro City of Lights, a chance for local schools and artists to get creative and show off their work to a city wide audience whilst swaying to the beat of the street performers’s drums and morris bells.

This is a follow on from Bonfire Night, a celebration we dedicate to Guy Fawke’s failed coup d’état  but merely a single night in the season of lights from the pyres of Samhain to Yule and Imbolc. We dance and play, keeping the demons away and reminding ourself that hope can be found in the darkest of places, we will see the sun again.

I celebrated bonfire night a week late this year, going home to Port Isaac for it to watch the cliffs of Port Gaverne turn into flaming statues of gods long forgotten, statues my father had helped to meticulously build. We watched them burn as fire spinners teased flames and dance around the pyre only eventually clearing the area to make way for fireworks.

I’m not sure what it is about fire and drums that excites me so. I would really like to get involved in this types of celebrations.

One of my favourite events of the year is Montol, celebrated on the 21st (Winter Solstice) in Penzance, its origins in times long forgotten but celebrated now as part of the Cornish revival movement. It is a lantern-lit processions leading to the The Lord of Misrule who lights the beacon at the highest point, Lescudjack Hillfort, an ancient fortress site followed by costumed dancing, guising and merriment. I have  e-mailed the organisers offering to help with stewarding, I have some experience in this area and would love to have more. If I’m lucky I might even be able to get into a good position for taking photographs!

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