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Many people celebrate the return of the sun on the Winter Solstice and choose to do what's considered a lantern walk on the longest night of the year!  Before we begin creating a winter solstice lantern let's chat about...

What IS the Winter Solstice?

For the nature nerd: The winter solstice, or also known as midwinter, occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It occurs twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern). For that hemisphere, the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky. At the pole, there is continuous darkness or twilight around the winter solstice.

For the folk lover: Since prehistory, the winter solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by festivals and rituals celebrating the death and rebirth of the Sun.

Interested in learning more about how to celebrate the return of the sun during the winter solstice?  Grab our Curriculum of Curiosity here!

Ancient peoples believed that to entice the sun to return again, they needed to light bonfires and lanterns!  Without further ado, let's make a solstice lantern to coax the return of the sun!

To make your own you will need:
- a clear jar with smooth sides
- white tissue paper, cut into small squares
- mod podge
- a wide craft paintbrush
- downloadable pattern (found here)
- black paper
- scissors
- a pencil
- a candle or battery-operated candle

Step 1: Thoroughly clean and dry your jar.  We love to use ball canning jars for this project!  The smooth sides make it really easy to adhere the tissue paper!

Step 2: Print the pattern page, found here.  Cut out the patterns and trace them onto black paper.  Cut out the pieces you have traced and set them aside.

Step 3: Dip your wide paintbrush into mod podge and evenly coat a side of the jar.  Apply white tissue paper squares over the mod podge and reapply mod podge over the tissue paper.  Continue this process until the entire jar is covered.

Step 4: After you have covered your jar with tissue paper, add your black sun, moon, and stars cutouts.  Apply more mod podge if needed, place a cutout on the jar, and cover with mod podge.  Allow to dry.

** It is very important to note that no mod podge should be applied within the jar for safety reasons.  Mod podge should only be applied on the outside of the jar.

Step 5: Light a candle or place a battery-operated candle inside the jar and enjoy on a solstice walk!

A traditional song that is sung during a lantern walk is:

The sunlight fast is dwindling,
My little lamp needs kindling.
It's beam shines far
in darkest night.
Dear lantern guard me
With your light.

See the lanterns being made over on instagram.

Do you wish to join us in our winter solstice celebrations?  Find our curriculum of curiosity here
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