The winter holidays start with lights in the U.S. and in many countries around the world. In the U.S. the lights begin to appear in early November, shining on street corners, in department store windows. By the end of November and the U.S. Thanksgiving, holiday lights are up and twinkling in white, blue, red, green, and gold on city streets and on country roads. By early December the lights are entwined on the trees and strung around front porches and lawns, and in shop windows, challenging the onslaught of winter’s darkness and the somber journey to the shadowed side of the sun.
The tradition of lights on Christmas trees started in 17th century Germany where they were attached by wax or pins. Then along came Thomas Edison and the electric light. By the late 19th century—in 1882—Edison’s friend and partner Edward H. Johnson developed the first string of electric lights for a Christmas tree by hand-wiring 80 red, white, and blue light bulbs together and winding them around his tree.
Many holidays around the world celebrate with lights, especially in the winter months, not only Christmas, also Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, St. Lucia Day, the Winter Solstice.
At a time when war is taking away the option of lighted cities, let alone festive lights for many in the Ukraine and elsewhere, I wanted to share these virtual lights with a wish for illumination in the year ahead.
Photo credits: Joanne Leedom-Ackerman