Burn Night: Live From Home — Around the World in 24 Hours! | Burning Man Journal
Burning Man has become a major cultural movement and year-round global community, morphing and growing every year beyond the iconoclastic event that birthed it. Our culture of Radical Inclusion has taken root worldwide in more than 44 U.S. States and 37 countries as part of the official Burning Man Regional Network, and there are Burners worldwide involved in civic projects and artistic expression every day.
At the center of this culture stands the rather enigmatic “Man” — a wooden effigy and symbol completely open to personal interpretation that we burn in spectacular fashion on Saturday night (Burn Night) at 9pm — which is the apex of the annual event. Some may think of the “Man” as male, but for me it is about our shared humanity and has no specific gender. The Man Burn brings its own special energy that happens only on Burn Night as the culmination of our week-long community gathering, and likewise holds its own special meaning for each individual.
To many of us, burning the Man symbolizes releasing old baggage and freeing our psyches to dream about what’s next. For others, burning the Man is the start of a new year akin to New Years Eve. The power of the Man Burn has always been as a ritual to unite us without any dogma that might otherwise separate. A ritual that points to our common humanity and embraces while letting go. Fire has a way of bringing people together while reminding us of the ephemeral nature of life itself.
Highlights Reel of 200+ Mini Man Burns Worldwide — Kaitlyn Caldwell, Los Angeles CA
Thousands of Celebrations Ignite Burning Man Culture Around the World
This year, COVID-19 reminded us of life’s fragility and forced the cancellation of Black Rock City, but it certainly didn’t cancel our culture! Instead, the massive, creative effort that tens of thousands of Burners annually invest in artistic offerings was pivoted into digital, online platforms, to be shared with the world — along with our culture. This year, our creativity and culture spilled over in a way it never has before. Our community traded welding machines, nail guns and cranes for keyboards, virtual reality (VR) headsets and broadband networks.
Blocked from creating one city five mile across in the desert, Burners in many countries instead co-created eight entire virtual Universes. Each was filled with digital art, interactivity, events, and ways to engage people creatively while encouraging deep community among people of all backgrounds, races, ages, genders, abilities and ideologies. The Universes were visually stunning, digitally created and digitally displayed, but is it still Burning Man if we don’t burn the Man? We sort of, kind of, HAD to burn the Man!
We Burners like to say, “The Man will always burn.” Perhaps we say that to remind ourselves to not give up. Perhaps we say it because we value rituals that bring us together instead of dividing one another. Like the Man itself, the meaning is up to you. And we really proved it this year! By emphasizing the impact, richness, and diversity of our culture around the world and around the clock, Burn Night: Live From Home showed our community and the world that the Man will always burn, and will always burn everywhere — in increasingly new and profound ways. We. Really. Needed. That.