As we close out 2020, a year like none other from the COVID-19 pandemic, racial unrest and natural disasters on a world-wide scale to local challenges of economic uncertainty, educating our children and keeping our spirits up, we offer our community an opportunity.
The Lumberyard Arts Center invites everyone to come together in solidarity to release the peace and ignite your light. We are here for you, Baldwin City, and invite everyone to stop outside our building to share your message of hope, your struggles and to know we are all in this together and here for one another.
Multiple traditions celebrate Light: Light is a significant element in many holidays and festivals throughout the year. Many cultures, countries, and faith traditions celebrate light. It is a symbol of the divine coming in to the world, a recognition that spring follows winter, and a reminder that darkness yields to light. Love also provides light in our life that is like a candle in the dark.
This time of year, many traditions celebrate the unifying power of love and light.*
Hunukkah/Chanukah – Jewish Festival of Lights
Hanukkah, also known as the Feast of Lights is celebrated in the month of December. It is a celebration that lasts eight days. The eight-day celebration is significant in that it symbolizes the Rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago. When it was time to light the Temple lamp, there was only enough oil for the lamp to burn one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days.
The significance of the eight days is also celebrated by lighting one candle for each day of the celebration. Each candle represents a day the oil burned in the Temple lamp. The candles are held in a symbolic figure called the menorah. The menorah consists of nine candle holders, the middle being called the shammash. The shammash is the first candle to be lit and lights the other candles, one for each night of celebration. This continues until all the candles are lit.’
Diwali or Deepavalie – Deepavaili, comes from the Sanskrit Deepa, meaning light and Avali, meaning row. This festival celebrates the victory of Good over Evil, which is symbolized by bringing light into darkness. The event is celebrated across the Indian Subcontinent as a religious holiday in Hinduism, Sikkimsm and Jainism. It is spread over five days, and celebrated with special prayers and rituals, lights and decorations, fireworks and food.
Christmas – A Christian tradition that celebrates the Birth of Christ as the Light of the World. The Star of Bethlehem – guiding the way to his birth place. Christmas trees are decorated with lights and gifts given in the spirit of love.
Winter Solstice – The winter solstice (which falls on Dec. 21 this year) marks an important milestone. It’s the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year, and signals a powerful transition point between seasons. It is the beginning of the new light. The solstice has been celebrated and revered in ancient civilizations, indigenous cultures, and various religions, all of which have their own rituals for taking advantage of the unique energy.
Kwanzaa: Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration starting the last week of December (around December 26 through January 1). Light is used in this celebration as a symbol of seven principles. Each principal is symbolized with a candle. A kinara is the candle holder that holds the seven candles. Each night a candle is lit and families talk about one of the seven principles. This is done each night until all the candles are lit.
These seven candles represent mshumaa, meaning the seven principles. These principles are 1) unity, 2) self-determination, 3) collective work and responsibility, 4) cooperative economics, 5) purpose, 6) creativity, and 7) faith.
Chinese – Lantern Festival
The lanterns can symbolize the people letting go of their past selves and getting new ones, which they will let go of the next year. celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar. Usually falling in February or early March on the Gregorian calendar, it marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations.
Le Re’veillon is a holiday celebrated in Canada and France. This holiday is similar to Christmas in that it celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. On Christmas Eve a large candle is lit symbolizing Christ, Light of the World. This candle is left to burn throughout the night.
Many people also light candles during the re’veillon, which is the Christmas dinner. This custom is celebrated in Sweden as well as in England, Ireland, and Denmark.
This holiday is celebrated in Mexico, beginning December 16. The celebration last for nine nights. Each night children and their families reenact the story of Mary and Joseph (parents of Jesus Christ) trying to find a place to lodge for the night. They travel to each house holding lighted candles and are turned away until they reach the house where the festivities of the night are being held. At this house, they are welcomed to go in and join in the celebration for the evening.
St. Lucia Day:
St. Lucia Day is celebrated on December 13. The story behind the holiday is of a young Sicilian girl who lived over 1,700 years ago. She would not deny Christianity so she was punished and her eyes were put out. She is pictured as wearing white robes and wearing a crown of light. The light represents the breaking of the winter spell and bringing light into the world. St. Lucia Day is celebrated in Sweden, Finland, Italy, and the Caribbean.
*Sources below. Thank you to Ilene Kimsey for the content for Light and Love.