Festivals & Events
Each year we serve between 15,000 and 20,000 people through our annual festivals. Cultural programming is the heart of what we do at Spontaneous Celebrations to create and sustain a vibrant community cultural life. Through our cultural programming we unite youth and adults, gain a sense of belonging, place, and community, and experience the thrill of shared commitment, wonder, and fun.
Our youth programming and festivals encourage creativity, deepen understanding, and promote appreciation of the differences among people and between cultures.
Wake Up the Earth Festival
The Wake Up the Earth Festival began in 1979 when a group of local neighbors and activists banded together to stop the Interstate 95 expansion into Jamaica Plain. The festival began as, and still is, a celebration of what can be accomplished when people of all traditions, cultures, ages, and beliefs come together. The annual Wake Up the Earth Festival (WUTE) takes place each year on the first Saturday in May and is currently attended by well over 10,000 individuals of all ages and features 4 stages including the music and dance performances, Popular Theatre, the Youth Stage, and Story Telling for All Ages. In addition to perfornances, WUTE features over 50 craft, non-profit, and food vendors. The festival is anchored by a massive parade (with branches that start in JP Center and Roxbury) with several thousand people marching. A great many individuals, local artists, community groups, and schools join forces every year to create this unique community collaboration.
Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade
The ritual of the Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade began in 1984 when people gathered to make a journey with their candle-lit lanterns around Jamaica Pond. In preparation for the Lantern Parade, Spontaneous Celebrations and community members host lantern making workshops in which youth and adults of all ages create beautiful hand made lanterns from recycled soda bottles decorated with colorful tissue paper. The festival also involves local businesses who sell hand made lanterns and offer workshops in their shops. By the night of the festival, several thousand people have made lanterns (and anyone who hasn't can purchase one the night of the parade). Each year approximately 4,000 people arrive at Jamaica Pond on each of two evenings at sunset with their lanterns; many children arriving in full Halloween costume as well. The parade proceeds around the pond, bringing a trail of bouncing lights into the darkness that can be seen from all directions. This beautiful autumn evening ceremony has become an annual tradition in our community. The Lantern Parade has its cultural roots in Dutch tradition. It reflects our dedication to building community by exploring old and creating new cultural traditions.