Burning Bowl Ceremony: Holding Onto and Letting Go

Many UU congregations commemorate the first Sunday of the new calendar year with a ritual that bids farewell to the old year and releases it. In the “Burning Bowl” ceremony. Congregants are invited to write on a piece of flash paper words or phrases that sum up what they wish to release before entering the new year. They then come forward to burn that piece of paper. This “fire communion,” writes UU minister Rev. Elizabeth Harding, “separates the end of the year from the beginning, helping us to put in perspective the joys and sorrows, the changes and transitions, the ups and downs of the year. It’s a half-way point in our church year, but a celebration of the outside calendar’s year’s end and year’s beginning.” Centering the self often involves determining what we, as individuals and as a community, need to hang on to and what we need to let go. Our service affords the opportunity to consider both what we desire to preserve and what we hope to relinquish as we enter the New Year.

Thomas Paine UU Fellowship
Burning Bowl Ceremony: Holding Onto and Letting Go