Wicker Fire Ceremony Interview
The Wicker Fire Ceremony firemaster is our very own Event Manager and Fantasy Forest Viking, Stefan. As well as coming up with the concept and design, he will light the torch and lead the ceremony on the day. We asked him to illuminate us on what it’s all about.
So, can you tell us, what happens at the wicker fire ceremony?
The wicker burning is a beautiful and festive fire ceremony. On the Saturday of Fantasy Forest Festival we’ll have an enormous wicker sculpture on display in the Valley of the Dragon – the field next to the castle – that anybody can walk up to. In the evening the ceremony will start with the organisers leading a procession of festival guests, entertainment groups and volunteers across the fields of Fantasy Forest.
Arriving at the wicker sculpture, the people performing the ceremony will be handed flaming torches, and after the opening ceremony speech, the sculpture will be set alight with beautiful music playing in the background. While the wicker sculpture is engulfed in flames, there will be fire dancers performing around it to enrich the celebration. It is a spectacular sight and very intense moment.
Last year you burned a wicker dragon, this year we’ve heard it will be a phoenix. Is that true? Why a phoenix?
Each year we choose a creature that symbolises the past year to us. Last year it was a beautifully sculpted dragon which to us, symbolised courage and knowledge. This year we chose to go with a phoenix. A phoenix is creature that burns up but then rises from the ashes, symbolising transition, transformation and re-invention. Something I think everybody can relate to with the current state of affairs. Also good to mention is that we see every wicker creature as a messenger, which is why you can leave your wish inside it – to send out your wish into the universe as the fire burns.
These beautiful and impressive wicker sculptures, do you make them yourself?
I would love to say yes to that but we have to be realistic. Making these sculptures is an art in itself and although it takes a good amount of creativity to make Fantasy Forest happen, building something as huge as the wicker sculpture we would rather leave to the professionals in that field. Luckily
we have found a great company called Pyrite Creative who specialises in these kind of structures and sculptures. We give them a brief and some basic parameters and they take care of the creative side to build the sculpture. After approval of the final design the build starts in the grounds of Fantasy Forest, where it will then patiently await the evening of the fire ceremony.
It seemed massive, how big was it?
Last year the wicker dragon stood 14 feet tall, 12 feet long and took 2 weeks to make! Quite a daunting task.
So, can anybody join in the fire ceremony and celebrations? How would I do that?
Of course you can and we would be happy to have anybody join in! You can come and watch the wicker burning ceremony happen, and anyone is welcome to join us in the procession leading up to the ceremony. Also, if you’d like to put a wish into the wicker sculpture itself you can do that during the day on Saturday. We will provide pen and paper but you are welcome to bring any other symbolic wish with you to put into the fire. The entire ceremony is non-denominational and can have any meaning that you give it.
So yes, you can be part of it all, from beginning to end and we would love to welcome everyone at this inspiring part of Fantasy Forest Festival!
Take a look at these highlights from the 2019 fire ceremony.