Lighting the night: Secret Lantern Society gears up for third annual Domino Park lantern festival

Secret Lantern Society of NYC gears up for Domino Park's annual lantern festival
The Secret Lantern Society of New York City is gearing up for the return of Domino Park’s annual lantern festival on Dec. 20.
Two Trees Management

For the third year in a row, the Secret Lantern Society of New York City will illuminate Williamsburg’s Domino Park to celebrate the beginning of winter.

The Secret Lantern Society — founded in 2020 to bring light to a rather dark year — will celebrate the turn of another season on Dec. 20 by gathering at the main steps near the park’s fountain for the group’s now-annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival and Labyrinth of Light. There, revelers will partake in hot drinks and sing-alongs while getting a first-hand view of the society’s illuminated lantern spiral.

“The Secret Lantern Society NYC continues the ancient and sacred tradition of joyfully celebrating the Winter Solstice gateway with fire and song,” said Debra Sheldon, founding artistic director of the Secret Lantern Society. “All are invited to join in the lighting of the longest night, and to welcome the new year’s offerings of warmth and the promises of life that come with the rebirth of the Sun. Two interlocking spirals of light will be created with evergreen boughs and handmade paper lanterns, aglow with beeswax candles.”

Attendees showed their gratitude for loved ones while marking the darkest day of winter at the inaugural Winter Solstice Lantern Festival and Labyrinth of Light in 2020.

The coiled lanterns represent the mathematical Fibonacci Sequence, Sheldon said in 2020 — something she sees as the basis of all life. The Secret Lantern Society hopes the meditative ritual will help heal some Brooklynites’ pain as they head into a new year while inspiring warmth and positivity for the days ahead.

“The purpose of Domino Park was not only to create a green space for the Williamsburg waterfront, but also to find a way to bring our community closer together and create a space for all New Yorkers,” said Nathan Bartholomew, Domino Park’s Director of Horticulture. “We are honored to be hosting the Lantern Festival for the third year in a row, celebrating the shortest day of the year and carrying light to share with our neighbors when it’s needed most.” 

The event, celebrating both winter and the longest night of the year, begins at sunset — around 5 p.m. — and people are encouraged to bring their own paper lanterns to the event.

Guests will be treated to hot chocolate, a campfire and holiday carols before it’s time to let go of the lanterns.

RSVPs are encouraged to ensure event organizers bring enough for everyone to enjoy. To reserve your spot, visit the Secret Lantern Society’s website, where you can also find step-by-step instructions on how to make your very own paper lantern.

Last updated 12/19/2022 12:40 p.m.