It’s traditional on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, to stay awake all night, keeping a bonfire burning, in an effort to call the sun back. We have a bonfire on Solstice too, but our celebration is all about gathering with your friends and neighbours, sharing some wonderful food, watching the kids arriving at the hall in a torchlit parade, chatting around the fire, and enjoying the entertainment of talented locals. The Solstice is all about creating the magic of community.

For me the Community Solstice Dinner begins with a visit to Ireland Farms to pick up the four large organic turkeys that we roast for supper. (I’m always grateful the dinner is potluck, as four turkeys are all I can fit in the ovens at the hall, but those aren’t nearly enough to feed the hundred plus people that arrive for dinner!) I work with groups of volunteers in the kitchen the day before and the day of the dinner, preparing dozens of loaves of bread, gallons of soup and pounds of roast potatoes. (We make gravy in a soup pot!)

It’s the community that creates the wonderful dinner, the magical setting, the awesome bonfire. It’s the magic of a community of people who go beyond all the time. We have chosen to make our homes here on this island in the Salish Sea. We have chosen this community. And together we can create a community that cares, that supports us when we are sick or hungry, and need an extra meal, a community where hundreds of volunteers work at everything from making food, to running a library, fighting fires, tending a garden, recycling our garbage, or helping at the school. It’s a community where you can always find someone to stop at the bank for you, or bring something home from town, or lend a hand when you need your kids looked after for a couple of hours. Every day we make choices about what we can do for others, and we choose to work together, to volunteer together and create together, to dream something better for our island. This is what makes our island such an amazing place to live.

In my opinion, the magic of this season is something that exists all year on Galiano.

This is the 11th year we will celebrate the Solstice by gathering together for a potluck. Contact the Galiano Community Food Program to find out how you can share your enthusiasm, talents and skills for this wonderful community celebration.