Click here to find our Lotus Lantern Walk Songs

All songs transcribed by Linda Handelsman

Lantern Walk Songs, with a Brief History

Lantern Walks are a common part of several different cultural traditions. In the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria, people celebrate Martinmas (named in honor of St. Martin), by walking with their lanterns and singing songs about the light their lanterns are giving off. Martinmas is celebrated on or around November 11, and although once a religious holiday, today it is a secular celebration for many lantern enthusiasts.

On the Chinese Lunar New Year, which happens in late January to early February, people celebrate with fireworks and parades that include vibrant lanterns, floats, and dragon and lion dances. Although the red lanterns are iconic, there are many different kinds of paper lanterns created for the Lunar New Year celebration.

The tradition of luminarias comes from Mexico. They were originally small fires lit to find the way, for example, as the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico have done for many years outside their homes, to light their way to church on Christmas Eve. More recently, the tradition has involved brown or white paper bags, with some sand to weigh them down and a candle placed in the sand, often with a design created on the bag to let a figure shine through.

Above, we provide links to the songs that will begin our Bloomington Lantern Walk tradition. We invite you to learn these songs, whose melodies are pretty simple. When you join the lantern walk, a lead will begin the songs, for everyone who knows them to join in. You can print these songs out to bring with you, or just to learn them. We’ll also have a few paper copies on hand at our Lotus Lantern Walk (Covid-permitting, according to CDC guidelines).

We invite you to make recordings of yourself singing the songs. Please submit the recordings to tamara@lotusfest.org. We will choose a couple of renditions to put on the website, linking them to the song.

Click the links below to find the individual songs. 

Swing Swing Low and High

Lantern Swinging with Your Pale Soft Light

High and Blue The Sky

This Little Candlelight of Mine