These places really know how to light up the holiday season!
Of all the different holidays around the globe, there are some common ways to celebrate—music, dancing, dressing up, food, and more food! But one of the most frequent, and most beautiful, is lighting.
Whether it’s trimming your family Christmas tree, lighting candles, or watching fireworks paint the sky, there’s something special about seeing your surroundings in a whole new light. There are countless celebrations involving lights that span cultures and continents. Here are five different holiday light spectaculars that shine brightest.
A Christmas Classic
Some neighborhoods go to greater lengths than others when it comes to holiday decorations, but it’s rare to find an area where every single house goes all out with festive lighting. Baltimore’s “Miracle on 34th Street” has been doing just that for more than 70 years! This row of houses gives the phrase, “deck the halls”, a new meaning. These homes light up each season with reindeer, snowmen, sleighs, and more. The neighbors even string lights across rooftops from one side of the street to the other. It’s a holiday sight!
Marina Bay, Singapore
Known for its unique architecture, there’s nothing average about Singapore’s “i Light” festival, held in Marina Bay. This “light art” showcase started in 2010 and draws artists from around the world. Bridges, fountains, tunnels, and the sides of buildings are illuminated with incredibly crafted artworks of lighting. And many are interactive! The bay itself plays a huge part, too; water is shot into the air to provide an additional canvas for the light artists’ designs.
Eternal City Festival of Lights
There are major Hanukkah celebrations in the United States, and of course, Israel. But in Rome, which surrounds Vatican City, the majority-Catholic Italian capital hosts a dazzling Hanukkah celebration in its ancient Jewish quarter. For all eight festival nights, a towering 20-foot-tall menorah is lit up in a Medieval-era square at the center of Rome (with a smaller ceremony nearby). A bonus: Rome has its own version of traditional, fried Hanukkah food, a sweet dough fritter covered in warm honey.
Illuminated, Ancient Architecture
The French city of Lyon was founded in 43 B.C. and much of the beautiful ancient architecture still stands today. For the “fete des lumieres” (festival of lights), these incredible buildings serve as the backdrop for a high-tech light show. You’ll see historical churches right next to futuristic robotic arms projected with twirling lights, as well as illuminated, animal-shaped kites. This blend of new and old makes the holiday season extra bright.
Rising Lanterns and Fortunes
Chiang Mai, Thailand
You’ve probably seen images of countless lanterns rising into the night sky. This event happens in Thailand during the Yi Peng festival. Always celebrated under the full moon, people gather for Yi Peng to release lanterns and wish for good fortune. Buddhists see this as a time to earn merit through good deeds, like giving and honoring others, making it an even friendly time to be in Thailand! The lanterns aren’t only in the skies, though. People decorate their homes, yards, and temples with more hanging lanterns as well.