2023’s Burning The Clocks celebration set to be biggest to date – here’s how to get involved

The scent of mulled wine is getting stronger in the air, which can only mean one thing… Christmas is around the corner! Can you tell we’re excited here at BOTI Towers? And, with Christmas comes one of the best dates in any Brightonian’s diary. Yes, we’re talking Burning the Clocks – the celebration of the shortest day of the year is back and it’s set to be the biggest one yet.

If you haven’t made your own lantern of light and paraded through the city to music with hundreds of people watching, then have you really experienced a proper Brighton festive experience? Now’s the time to put the date in your diary.

Arts organisation and paper lantern supremos Same Sky created the unique community event which takes place on 21st December each year, bringing the whole city together to mark the winter solstice and to celebrate and reflect on the past year.

Bigger than ever

This year, the organisers have invited even more community groups to take part (including Afrori Books, the Ledward Centre, Tarner Community Project) and the parade is 40 percent bigger than it was last year. If you’re finding that hard to conceptualise, 2,300 residents are expect to take part in the parade with their handmade lanterns, while a further 28,000 are expected to watch the parade and the beach fireworks afterwards.

As every year, there are new puppets and lanterns for 2023, and it’s always exciting to see what gets revealed on the night. This year, Same Sky, Afrori Books and Brighton Anti-Racist Community Organisation collaborated on a Windrush replica artwork to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush ship that brought hundreds of passengers from the Caribbean to help rebuild Britain after World War II.

READ ALSO: Wakehurst’s Glow Wild returns with a brand-new magical light trail

The theme for 2023 is ‘clocks’ and Graham Carter, a local artist supporting the event, has again created a gorgeous poster for the event – see below.

“Burning the Clocks is having its great reset, passing the time with ticking distractions, delightful nonsense, and a thousand illuminations, to render a few dark, silent hours even stiller,” said Same Sky artistic director John Varah.

How to get involved

So, what exactly can you expect? Well, if you really want to get stuck in, then you’ll need to get yourself a lantern kit (£40). This will give you the materials to make two lanterns, instructions on how to put them together, and four wristbands and allow you to join the parade.

You can get your hands on one of these at The Booklovers Store in Jubilee Library, Infinity Foods Coop, Hisbe supermarket in York Place, the Stanley Road Store in Hanningtons Lane and The Book Nook in Hove, or you can order one online to pick up. And if you’d rather not make one yourself, you can buy a personalised one online here.

If you’d like to take part but don’t fancy making a lantern, Same Sky are also looking for parade volunteers to support the bucket donations team and the lantern-passing on the beach. If you’re interested, you can fill out their form here

On the night itself, as you get to the end of the parade and hit Brighton beach, you’ll then pass the lanterns onto a blazing bonfire on Brighton beach.


It’s a pretty magical experience and one to get the whole family down to (bring earplugs if you’re sensitive to loud noises as it does get pretty noisy). If lantern-making and parading around town aren’t your thing, then join the crowd and watch the spectacle pass on the Lanes (it’s beautiful), or head down to the beach and see the incredible fireworks that mark the end of the celebrations. It really will make you fall in love with the city all over again.

Same Sky have also got a crowdfunder on the go to support what they do and let the party live on each year. You can help them keep going by choosing from a range of goodies, including a pre-made lantern for the parade, VIP tickets and limited-edition prints by Graham Carter. Or just bring them cash to pop in the collection buckets on the night.

If you did buy a lantern pack, then meet at 5.30pm at Jubilee Square to pick up your lumestick for the lantern and don’t forget your 2023 wristband! The weather forecast is pretty grim – windy af – so wrap up warm.

We’ll see you at the starting point near Brighton Dome at just after 6pm in the warm glow of the festive lanterns! The parade finishes on Brighton seafront near the end of the ZipWire. The fireworks and effigy burning will start around 7.30pm on Kemptown Beach – Madeira Drive is the best viewpoint – ending at 8pm.

And if you’re still going strong afterwards, there’s an after-party with fire performers and DJs at Bison Beach Bar at Sea Lanes.

Thursday 21st December; from 6pm; free

Photo credits: Simon Dack (featured image)