Monday, 29 September 2014

Of Festivals and Lights

Lights play an important role in festivals. Rarely would you find a festival where the streets of a city or the porch of a house is not lit to its full glory. What is interesting is that this phenomenon is culture agnostic. With traditional Indian diyas to candles, each culture has it’s a way of manifesting the role of light in their celebrations. We all know of Diwali. So we thought of collating a list of festivals of lights from across the world, presenting yet another unifier.

1. Festival of Light: St. Lucia's Day in Sweden
Folklore has that December 13th follows the longest night of the year in Sweden. During the winter, there are only a few hours of sunlight each day. St. Lucia is honored this day with her wreath of candles.

 2. Traditions of light: Christmas in France
The Christian tradition of light during the Christmas season is displayed by lighting candles on four consecutive Sundays before the Christmas Day.

3. Traditions of light: Hanukkah
Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. The story carved around a sacred light, which was lit for 8 days with oil that could have just survived just a day, until a messenger returned with more.  

4. Festival of Light: St. Martin's Day (Sint Maarten) in Holland
Celebrated in Holland every 11th of November, Saint Martin's Day sees children carry lanterns and go from house to house singing songs. People give them candy and other treats. A little less fun version of Halloween.

5. Festival of Light: Loi Krathong (loy-kruh-thong) Festival in Thailand
This holiday is celebrated in Thailand in November each year. "Loy" means "to float" and a "Krathong" is a lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves. The festival starts at night of a full moon where people carry their Krathongs to the nearby rivers, light them and make a wish and let them drift away in the water. Sound familiar?

You read through this and we know that this is just yet another unifier and a testament that culture professes the same lessons and rituals have a similarity world over. 

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