January 1st Writing Prompt: Ceremony

Every year, two cities on opposite sides of a river partake in a candle-lighting ceremony. Over the decades since this tradition has been in effect, more grandiose displays have been put in place. What was once a holiday that was meant to unite the two cities has become a competition of sorts. Whispers speak of a truly large spectacle this year. What is going to happen?

Ideas and questions:

Perhaps the river itself has become a part of the ceremony over the years. If what started as small candles along the coast elevated to small fixtures on the water, like paper lanterns, perhaps larger boats are now present there.
While the ceremony may have began with mundane items, wizardry and alchemy could have led to great and exciting wonders being used as part of the presentation. Perhaps plain candles have given way to magical candles that produce spectacular images when burned.

Is the competition a friendly one? Or, over time has it become something that has become a bitter event as the sides try to one-up one another?
Is it possible that the word of the spectacle is, in fact, a sign of sabotage yet to be revealed? Could the sabotage lead to danger—whether intentional or not?
Is the spectacle that is planned meant to merely astound and amaze those in attendance to watch the ceremony? Or is it also meant to distract so that some other plot can be masterminded?


This is no mere celebration, but a golden jubilee! The fiftieth year of the candle ceremony is at hand, and some notable people have announced that they are to be attending the festivities. When word of a spectacle bends the ear of those in charge of the event, they believe it is about the plans they’ve designed. Write about someone who reports to one of the organizers, who has their doubts about who and what the rumors are said to be about.

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