How the Canadian flame was lit

History

The World Peace Flame was created in July 1999. Seven flames were lit by peacemakers on the five continents of the world. The individual flames were lit in Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. They were flown across the oceans by military air forces and commercial airlines, and united into one eternally burning flame at a ceremony in Bangor, North Wales. Since then, the World Peace Flame has spread throughout the world in lanterns and candles lit from the original flame. 

How the 7 flames were lit...

India

Gandhi’s former home in Delhi is now a museum, in the garden of which burns an eternal flame. One day Thakor and Mita from the WPF project went to Gandhi’s garden and explained to the guard who watched over it that they would like to light the Asian peace flame from Gandhi’s eternal flame. The guard was immediately very enthusiastic.
However, to their dismay Thakor and Mita found that they couldn’t reach the eternal flame with their lantern, which had been specially designed to hold the World Peace Flame. Then the guard saved the day by pulling a straw from a nearby broom made of long grass and gesturing for Thakor to use it to transfer the flame. And so the flame of the ‘Great Soul’ of India ignited the World Peace Flame through one man’s simple action of offering a straw from a broom.     

United States of America

The American flame was lit on top of Pike’s Peak by members of the World Peace Flame Foundation in the company of peace activists from the United States. Pike’s Peak is the best known mountain in a range of 53 mountain peaks across Colorado. This area is said to be holy land with particular powers. Many years ago First Nation tribes regularly came together in friendship on these mountains. On these occasions they put down their weapons even when they were enemies. They did this in recognition of their common connection with the earth. 

The Middle East 

Before the commander of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) lit the flame in Bahrain, he observed a few minutes of silence and thought about the moment when he had decided to join the RAF to offer his life in service for the freedom of his country. When the flame was lit he spoke these words: ‘May all beings live in peace and may all beings find the true peace that lies within their own hearts.’ This flame was then flown to England by the RAF. 

Africa

The initiator of the World Peace Flame, Mansukh Patel, lit the African flame, accompanied by representatives of various African populations. The ceremony took place in Gilgil, Kenya, the village in which Mansukh was born. Later that night, he described his feelings: ‘I looked at the flame. All I could see in the lantern was a small, calm burning flame. It looked so vulnerable and it reminded me of how frail a dream can be. Anybody could blow out this flame. But I knew that this little flame, which represented the hopes and wishes for peace of the African population, would never extinguish because it has immense power which is indestructible.’

Australia

The Australian flame was lit by one of the tribal chiefs of the Aboriginal people, Pearl Wyamara, together with a representative of the Olympic Committee from Sydney, Joseph Buhagia. It was essential for Pearl that this ceremony would bring people together. ‘The flame is the spirit of peace,’ she said. ‘We are united by this light; it flows through us all.’    

Canada 

Northern Sitting Wolf, an Ojibwa Chief, performed the ceremony when the Canadian flame was lit. Northern Sitting Wolf is well known for his achievement of reconciliation between First Nation people and the Caucasian settlers, and for his progressive way of trying to heal the traumas his people have suffered throughout the ages. During the lighting ceremony the Chief told an old Ojibwa legend about the arrival of seven flames. The legend says that when these flames unite into an eighth flame, this will be the start of a golden age of peace and harmony on earth.

Europe

The European flame was ceremonially lit by Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld, Princess of The Netherlands. On the day of the ceremony the weather was very bad, with heavy clouds and lots of rain. However, at the exact moment that Irene lit the flame, the clouds parted and the sun poured down on the ceremony.
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