The Salish Sea Lantern festival brings music and light to the Sidney waterfront every year. A salmon lantern was snapped by a reader last summer, in 2018 on Sidney Pier. (Photo by Bob Orchard).

The Salish Sea Lantern festival brings music and light to the Sidney waterfront every year. A salmon lantern was snapped by a reader last summer, in 2018 on Sidney Pier. (Photo by Bob Orchard).

Traditional salmon designs brighten Salish Sea Lantern Festival

Children from ȽÁU,WEL,ṈEW̱ tribal school built salmon hats for festival on Sidney waterfront

Preparations for Sidney’s lantern festival are gathering pace and local children from LÁU,WEL,NEW tribal school in North Saanich have been busy building illuminated salmon hats.

Jennifer Witvliet, artistic director for the Salish Sea Lantern Festival, has run two lantern workshops in recent weeks for children attending LÁU,WEL,NEW’s SENCOTEN summer camp. Five years ago, one of the camp’s leaders and language coordinator, Renee Sampson, showed interest in lantern building activities for the children and so she and Witvliet partnered up to provide some. Witvliet initially made ball lanterns for the kids to re-create but this year’s 30 campers chose to make salmon hats.

View this post on Instagram

ArtSea is proud to be collaborating with the WSÁNEĆ First Nations over the last 4 years in the Salish Sea Lantern Festival. This year we have been working with the teachers and children from the SENĆOŦEN Summer Immersion program creating a unique illuminated paper craft for the Salish Sea Lantern Festival. The ȽÁU, WELṈEW Tribal school is located in Brentwood Bay and serves the WSÁNEĆ people which is made of 4 local bands: Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum, and Pauquachin. The SENĆOŦEN Summer Immersion program works with children ages 5-12 from these communities and leads classes in their original SENĆOŦEN language. At this 2-day workshop, students decorated salmon shaped hats that will be illuminated and worn as part of their opening performance at The Salish Sea Lantern Festival. One side of the salmon hat is a traditional black and red drawing using Coast Salish design elements. On the other side, the students could create anything they desired by collaging lots of colourful bits of tissue paper. Renee Sampson and the SENĆOŦEN singers will be leading the Salish Sea Lantern procession on August 24th, wearing their lit salmon hats and singing songs about salmon in their beautiful SENĆOŦEN language.

A post shared by ArtSea Community Arts Council (@artseacommunityartscouncil) on

ALSO READ: Light up August with a lantern building workshop in Sidney

“I did the template and made the fish shapes, and then the children decorated them with tissue,” said Witvliet. “They did a beautiful job of decorating them. They do a more traditional Coast Salish design on one side, and on the other side was a more colourful and contemporary design. Basically they’re wearing a beautiful lantern hat.”

The Salish Sea Lantern Festival is run by community arts and culture group, ArtSea, and has become a favourite fixture on Sidney’s cultural calendar. This year, over 1,000 people are expected to attend and Witvliet has been building a number of lantern pieces to adorn the procession, including an almost to scale, seven-foot-long baby orca whale. The festival benefits from a SENCOTEN prayer and traditional Indigenous songs. The parade then winds along Sidney’s waterfront and pier, the colourful lanterns illuminated by the electric lights inside them, bobbing along in procession amid the growing gloom of night. ArtSea is keen to ensure an inclusive atmosphere, and Witvliet has greatly enjoyed her partnership with the summer camp.

ALSO READ: Ravens Crossing breaks ground on happy Hygge cohousing project

“We really just want to open it to all community members,” said Witvliet, noting, “I’d been wanting to open it up to the First Nations, and Renee was interested, so I wanted to really offer something for the kids, because with the kids they jump right on, so it was a really great collaboration.”

The Salish Sea Lantern Festival takes place Aug. 24 and promises music, entertainment an family-friendly fun. For more information or to volunteer visit artsea.ca.

First Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Sharon McNeill (right) was among the first batch of residents to pick up free seeds and seedlings from Ali Rivers, Central Saanich’s climate action specialist, during Thursday’s Seed Giveaway. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Central Saanich plants seeds in the fight against climate change

Seed Giveaway promotes environmental stewardship

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Central Saanich park among sites for local Garry oak restoration projects

Habitat Acquisition Trust received $140,000 in funding for 12 projects

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read