Columbia’s lantern parade celebrates “shortest” day of year

Participants carry their lanterns in the parade. Allen Wallace photos.


Park rangers and South Carolina State Museum staff led a lantern parade to celebrate the beginning of winter (windy conditions on Friday caused the one-day delay), with attendees carrying a variety of paper lanterns in the shapes of owls, angels, fish and other creations.

Columbia Bierkeller provided cocoa, marshmallows and traditional German holiday drinks for the event, and museum staff explained the meaning of the occasion.

The word solstice comes from the Latin word for “sun” and “to stand still.” The winter solstice is the shortest day (in terms of daylight) of the year, and the winter solstice in one hemisphere coincides with the summer solstice in the other.

People of all ages and more than a few dogs joined the parade despite the chilly weather, lanterns illuminating the path from the parking lot down to the canal and riverbank.

The solstice is important to many cultures and the center of many holidays and festivals, often symbolizing death and rebirth, as it marks the beginning of daylight hours lengthening as the calendar turns toward spring.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Richland County