LGBT Community Celebrates New Year’s Eve with Bridge of Light, a 3rd Annual World Spirituality Day Event

FOR RELEASE ON DEC. 14, 2006

Members of the worldwide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community are among those creating a more spiritual and reflective transition to 2007. The Bridge of Light celebration on December 31 marks the arrival of the New Year by honoring the full equality and dignity of all people. This celebration marks the 3rd annual celebration of the cultural tradition, founded in 2004. Today, the Bridge of Light is a part of World Spirituality Day, a non denominational global spiritual tradition modelled after Earth Day.

Seattle, WA — Members of the worldwide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community are among those creating a more spiritual and reflective transition to 2007. The Bridge of Light celebration on December 31 marks the arrival of the New Year by honoring the full equality and dignity of all people. This celebration marks the 3rd annual celebration of the cultural tradition, founded in 2004 by participants of the Gay Spirit Culture Summit (GSCS) held in Garrison, New York.

Although the Bridge of Light idea was the fruit of the GSCS, a gathering of over 100 spiritual leaders and luminaries in the international gay and bisexual men’s community, now the event belongs to anyone. All are invited to celebrate a tradition to affirm the full equality of all persons, setting visions for the year ahead, and symbolize their shared hope, unity, and spiritual heritages and principles.

The Bridge of Light tradition is part of the 4th annual World Spirituality Day, an event sponsored by Integrative Spirituality, a not-for-profit omni-denominational spiritual organization based in San Francisco, CA. World Spirituality Day is regarded as “The Earth Day for the Spirit.” Just as Earth Day is celebrated worldwide now, in many different ways, World Spirituality Day allows for a kaleidoscope of worldwide gatherings and events, big and small, year after year. Bridge of Light is one such type of event, celebrated by members of the LGBT community.

The nondenominational World Spirituality Day is simple to participate in and can be celebrated either alone or in a group. Bridge of Light’s distinctive contribution to this global tradition is to symbolize the many distinctive contributions of gay and queer-identified women and men from throughout history and in many cultures. Specifically, the Rainbow is offered as the focal symbol for Bridge of Light celebrations because it is the symbol most widely recognized as identifiable with the worldwide gay and lesbian community. The Rainbow is honored not only for its diversity but also for its underlying Unity behind the multiplicity of colors.

Joe Perez, founder of the Bridge of Light tradition and founder/editor of the Gay Spirituality & Culture Weblog, says: “The first two years of Bridge of Light celebrations have seen only small, private celebrations in homes. But I hope that soon larger group and community-wide parties will emerge. Social, religious, and civic groups are welcome to add Bridge of Light ceremonies to their list of winter activities. What makes this tradition unique is its focus on spiritual principles that are the common heritage of all people … and the vision that these principles can provide the basis for affirming universal human dignity, rights, and justice for the gay community and all people.”

Like Kwaanza, the holiday honoring African-American heritage first celebrated in 1966, Bridge of Light is a cultural celebration not requiring any particular set of religious beliefs. The central ritual of Bridge of Light is a candle-lighting ceremony intended to honor the distinctive contribution of men who love men and women who love women and others whose ways of loving mirror the beauty of the Divine ways of loving. As part of the Bridge of Light, six candles are lit on New Year’s Eve, one candle for each color of the rainbow.

Universal values and spiritual principles are honored with each lit candle: Creativity (by lighting a purple candle), Freedom (a red candle), Integrity (a blue candle), Self-Reliance (an orange candle), Harmony (a green candle), and Love (a yellow candle). Some celebrants of Bridge of Light also light additional candles to highlight additional traditions, values, and principles from their own distinct traditions.

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Greg DiStefano endorses Bridge of Light

Gdistefano_1Got this e-mail today from Greg DiStefano:

Thanks again for thinking of me in regards to your newest endeavor. I so admire your enthusiasm, creativity, and determination, and hope this meaningful tradition finds its wings. Bridge of Light is a wonderful way to add a greater depth of spiritual meaning to the New Years occassion. For GLBT people, their supporters, and the wider global culture, the Bridge of Light celebration will help keep focus on universal spiritual values while honoring diversity, unity and equality — a terrific ritual and message to combine with the New Year’s occassion.

Greg DiStefano is a spiritual explorer, integral philosophy enthusiast, and national book award-winning author of the gay spiritual memoir Breakdown, Diamonds, Death, and Second Chances   www.BreakdownBook.com