Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Festivals of light

We are in the middle of a six week period where cultures around the world celebrate light - candles and twinkling fairy lights for Hannuka, Eid, Christmas and Advent, Diwali and Winter Solstice. There seems to be strong human urge to gather together, to feast, and to lift our spirits with sparkling lights.

Today is St Lucia's day. A festival of light. And my patron saint. Our name, from the Italian, luce and Latin lux means light. I loved this post from Twig and Toadstool last year about it, it's the first time I had heard of the celebration. Needless to say in an ideal world we would be making costumes and the like - but this, dear readers, is the year of enough- and that means enough guilt for all that we are not doing this season!

Driving home after yesterday's rant, we drove down the main street - and marvelled at the street lights, drove home past houses lit up inside and out. And my spirits lifted. This, this is what I love about this time of year, more than anything else. It used to be the music too, but with my failing Christian belief (more of which another time) and the fact that Christmas adverts start on the 1st November, I find them less rousing than once upon a time. Except The Snowman, I LOVE The Snowman - am linking to it here to get you feeling all tingly and magical.

But the light, the even the garish lights on the over decorated houses - you know the sort with a hundred inflatable flashing reindeer on the roof - they spark my soul with beauty and hope. And I realise that that is what we're missing here in the Pink House. Because of being energy conscious we don't "do" many lights - we have some on the stairs, our solar powered tree ones don't work - of course. I love lighting the (wilting) advent wreath with the children. I want to do more of that. And they love it too. They adore lighting candles.

And so, I think, this year I will pass on the carol service and the huge amounts of festive cooking. Gingerbread houses and dressed up santas in shopping malls be damned. I will celebrate a festival of light, a simple, gentle season of light and magic in the dark and cold. That will be my focus this festive season, in this year of Enough - to celebrate the light - to absorb the magic of the twinkling lights, and add a few of my own.


  1. Ah, Saint Lucia! I remember it very well, when I was living in a large international student hall in France all the swedish students got dressed in long, flowy white gowns (made of bedsheets). One girl was Saint Lucy, she wore a crown of candles, real, burning ones. They walked around the hall singing these beautiful songs, in swedish, and I remember being very impressed with the serenity of the celebration, even as a 18 year old.. I still have some very gorgeous pictures. I think in Sweden this is quite a big holiday.
    And I am with you on the twinkling lights. When I feel a rage coming up. I look into the shimmer of our Christmas tree light, through half closed eyes so it all goes dreamy, and it relaxes me.

  2. Yes! Lights! Candles! My favorite part of the season, absolutely.

  3. It always was about the light Lucy! Jesus is a symbol for the light of the world which is in each of us when we walk a path of love, but he was a shaman I think. I reckon he was magic and groovy and misquoted, misunderstood, I think he was from the heavens along with so many other beautiful souls who have come here to teach us stuff. Maybe you can be a christian and a pagan and a buddhist and a hindu and a troll all rolled up into one magic bundle. Like Piscine Molitor Patel in the life of Pi! X

  4. There really is something magical about bringing light to the darkest time of year, and I think that is more than enough. That is the part of the holiday season that always spoke to me most, especially in the uncertain years of my own slowly failing Christian belief. My belief has long since failed, but the beauty of the season remains. There something about choosing light that feels so warming and triumphant.

    Love your advent wreath, too. x

  5. I will celebrate a festival of light, a simple, gentle season of light and magic in the dark and cold.

    What a beautiful intention. I'm finding the thought of the midwinter binge-fest a trial this year. I am entirely and wholeheartedly looking forward to the winter solstice ritual I'm leading on Wednesday, but Saturnalia itself... So I'm joining you in the intention to keep it simple - a little green, some light, a meal of abundance - not gluttony - with friends. What could be better?



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