The Lotus Lantern and Luminaria Project is an initiative to bring the glow of lanterns to our Bloomington community, as the days shorten and the nights get longer. To celebrate lantern traditions from around the world, Lotus is working with a few lantern artists to create templates for building lanterns that can be used decoratively in homes and businesses, or on walks, to light the way.

The project is designed to be welcoming and inclusive by focusing on lantern customs that represent several different world traditions. Lotus will supply the materials and will hold workshops, to enable both live, physically-distanced participation and participation via online instruction.

We’ll have three separate designs:

  • A wooden frame lantern (European design, with template by Remy Page), with a paper wrap or casing that you can create, from various paper options SIGN UP FOR THIS WORKSHOP ON EVENTBRITE

    • If you are interested in attending a workshop, but the date(s) you are interested in are full, please complete this form to be added to a waitlist.

    • Want to make a wooden lantern, but aren’t comfortable attending a workshop? Please contact Tamara Loewenthal ( for more information about how you can participate.

  • A Chinese lantern (designed by Shelley Hanmo Qian), using construction paper, tape, and scissors MATERIALS AVAILABLE BEGINNING NOVEMBER 11, SIGN UP FOR MATERIALS HERE The lantern pieces are pre-cut. You only need double-sided tape or glue to create this lantern!

  • Luminaria, based on Mexico/Southwest US border regions designs, using recycled paper SIGN UP FOR MATERIALS HERE

In November 2020, we’ll focus on getting the materials to willing participants, and on building lanterns together, via in-person, physically-distanced workshops for the wooden frame lanterns. Sign up on Eventbrite for our workshops. Individuals may also reserve and pick up materials and instructions for the paper lanterns, which can be created safely at home, and there will be online instructions for putting these together. The only thing needed to complete the paper lanterns will be double-sided tape or glue. The paper is pre-cut and ready to assemble.

Every celebration needs its songs to go with it. Singing during the lantern walk will be done with masks on, as required for safety. We hope to have a couple of different groups involved in learning these. Click HERE to find the songs.

On December 4, we’ll host the inaugural Lotus Lantern Walk. People who have built a lantern will be invited on a walk that begins at the Lotus Firebay, where they can pick up a free LED tea light candle. From the Lotus Firebay, we’ll head to the B-line, and continues to either the Showers Plaza or the Monroe County Courthouse (exact path TBD). We’ll circle around, physically distancing and masked, and stop to sing a couple of lantern songs. We’ll then head back to the Lotus Firebay doors for some hot chocolate to be served in individual, covered cups. *Event subject to change, based on current COVID-19 health guidelines at the time.

On December 21, between 6 pm and 8 pm, businesses and homes in our community will be invited to display their lanterns in their windows, to celebrate art and bring light to the longest night of the year. Businesses and organizations willing to participate by displaying a lantern may contact Lydia Campbell-Maher,

Suggested local nonprofits:

Monroe Community Kitchen

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

Hoosier Hills Food Bank

Beacon (formerly Shalom Community Center),

including Crawford Home

Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County

A big thank you to our sponsors Old National Bank, the Center for the Study of Global Change, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies! Thank you to our grantor BUEA!