On June 22, Dunedin celebrated Midwinter and the longest night of the year with a lantern festival through the city and around the central octagon (the main meeting hub in town). The theme this year was “The Never Ending Night” and aimed to highlight the creatures and beauty of Antarctica.
In the weeks leading up to the carnival, several lantern-making workshops were held where members of the public could join in and help make lanterns to be either carried through the parade or decorate the mall. Some friends booked a spot in a workshop to make decorative stars.
We headed in early in the morning and went through each of the desks in the process – our stars were carefully put together using cane stalks, tissue paper and flour-glue. Inside the star, we gently dangled an LED light that would glow in the evenings. Our stars were hung throughout the mall in the lead-up to the carnival.
On carnival night, a huge procession of incredibly detailed lanterns were carried by artists and children. First came a huge ice-breaker ship, followed by a variety of antarctic animals: giant squid, penguins, seals and blue whales. Amidst all this, ice floes drifted and fish darted through and amongst the parade.
You can see more about the carnival on the organiser’s Facebook page here.