Guided by flameless candles flickering in weighted paper bags, about 50 people explored the labyrinth inside the downtown Armenian Heritage Park on Sunday evening, a journey intended to elicit peaceful reflection on the difficult year that is ending and the new year to come.
Participants gathered in the cold and high winds at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway to see friends and family, sing Christmas carols, and follow a path that many find inherently soothing.
Don Tellalian, 80, the architect who designed the park, attended Sunday’s third annual Candlelit Labyrinth Peace Walk with his wife, Barbara, who helped organize the event. He said he chose the labyrinth as a symbol of life’s journey but also as a way to engage visitors.
“Our hope is to bring people together on common ground,” said Barbara Tellalian, 76. “We are interested in creating as many opportunities as we can to bring people together and to celebrate life together, and the journey that we’re all on.”
Nearby, another organizer, Susan Deranian, helped visitors write wishes on ribbons and tie them to a “wishing tree.” Most called for peace, for kindness, for greater patience.
Deranian said the goal of the peace walk was “to promote everyone getting along, and inclusiveness, and the whole idea of the labyrinth meaning serenity, and what we need at this time of year.”
It’s the spirit of the holiday season, said the Peabody resident, 67, and a sentiment that is especially important in this fractious political climate.
“We’re in upheaval, and we need something to anchor us,” she said.
Bethany Adam, 23, came to the walk in solidarity with the Armenian people and in tribute to those killed in the Armenian genocide of 1915 to 1923.
“I think that events like this help us remember that we aren’t alone,” said the Somerville resident, who plans to study international human rights and civil liberties.
Anan Howsawi, 24, a UMass Boston student from Saudi Arabia, said she is alone in the city during the holidays and appreciated the warm welcome she received at the peace walk.
“It makes me feel like there is no difference between us,” she said. “We all need to feel something peaceful. That’s in every human, no matter what is their religion, no matter what is their situation.”