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Night of Ancient Bonfires

Organisation: Turku 2011 Foundation

Time: 2/1/2010 – 8/27/2011



Our pledge to the Baltic Sea is that in 2011, bonfires will be lit to save the Baltic Sea on August 27th, at 9 PM Finnish time, around the Baltic Sea coastline. Local communities in villages, on islands and in towns, responding to the call to light their bonfire will become part of a chain of fires, united be a message from the Head of State of one or two Baltic Regions Countries. The message, translated into the languages of the Baltic Sea countries, will be spread to be read, sung and performed at the bonfires.

In ancient times bonfires along the Baltic coast were lit to warn of dangers. Our wish is that the tradition to light bonfires on the last Saturday of August, alive along the South-Western coast of Finland, will become more than local and communal farewell to the summer that ends: that it will unite people across the Baltic and that it will be meaningful way of acting to save the Baltic Sea.

Our message and hope will be that those gathered around the bonfires will give their personal promises to protect and save the Baltic Sea.

A web site will be opened where anybody can visit and mark on a map where she/he is going to light a bonfire. On the site, others can be challenged also to light bonfires (a Word-of –Mouth plus Facebook campaign). The web site will include information on the condition of the Baltic Sea, include the Message from the Head of State, and tell about how lighting a bonfire makes one part of chain of fire to save the Baltic Sea.

The marks of intentions to light fires will be transformed into map coordinates (Google Maps or another map-based system) and virtual fires will be lit on each map mark at 9 PM Finnish time on 27.8.2011 by using by using 3d graphics.

The message of the Head(s) of State will be continued by the concrete promises given by those who have gathered around the bonfires.

The publishing of the promises in a common website will make a community of those who have committed themselves. The realization of the promises will be followed-up and publicized. It is, however, up to those who have given their promises to tell about how they make them true.

Our hope is that the celebration of the Night of Ancient Bonfires will be a continuing process, as it is already in Finland and some parts of Estonia, with new messages from heads of States of other Baltic Sea countries.

Thus it can be part of engaging and uniting broad sectors of the population around the Baltic in the future of the Sea.