Illuminate: #onesmallcandle and 1620 Lanterns

2020 was the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower, a connection to Boston’s own Pilgrim story. Over the last 7 years we have been coordinating the Illuminate Festival’s spectacular procession; entertaining and bringing joy to the town’s residents on Thanksgiving Day. This year, the procession and programme of workshops to make it all, has had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But we wanted to keep the candle burning;

“Just as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many.”

When William Bradford penned those immortal words, he couldn’t have known that almost 400 years later, they would spark an idea to unite people all over the world.

Transported and Boston Borough Council invited the businesses and residents of the area to share their hope, gratitude and reflection by November 26th in the creation of 1620 spectacular and beautiful lanterns.

The lanterns celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim story, and the community in the context of the COVID Pandemic.

What is a Lantern?

  • They might be as simple as colourful knitted “covers” to jam jars
  • Collections of ceramic lanterns inspired by the town’s special buildings and heritage stories, created with help from the Transported team and fired in a local kiln.
  • Colourful Tiffany Stained glass made with the guidance of a local specialists.
  • They could even be photographic portraits or decorative designs, printed on tracing paper, wrapped around a jar or glass vase, with the candle light illuminating the design.

The possibilities are endless. People can make them on their own, create with their families or join the Transported team and artists at the free workshops. Have a go, learn a new skill, meet new people, and make a contribution to a spectacular celebration of the town. Or alternatively, you can watch “How to” videos or find inspiration and download instructions from the web.

“The last few months have been challenging for the town’s residents and businesses. As things improve, we want to work with Boston to create a powerful message of hope and reflection”

How will the 1620 lanterns be exhibited?

There were two parts to the project.

The first is the creation of the collection of 1620 lanterns, illuminated with candles or battery tea lights,. The collection was exhibited in clusters around the town, creating a trail to be explored and discovered by families and friends on Thanksgiving Day on the 26th.

The second was an invitation to residents, shops, businesses to illuminate the town by placing a candle or lantern in their windows on the 26th, giving thanks and expressing positive hope for the future.

How participants got involved

Download the lantern templates here, and start making!

If you would like you lantern to be included in the trail, email us on