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Understanding the Origins: Why We Use Holiday Lights

For many, the holiday season arrives as a bright glow of warmth and joy in the midst of a dark and dreary winter. Much of this joy and warmth comes from festive holiday lighting. But why do we have these traditions? Many religions and cultures around the world use lights to celebrate various occasions, and the winter holidays are one of the most popular seasons for beautiful outdoor lighting displays.

At Christmas Décor Oakville, we've come to love Christmas lights so much that we thought we'd investigate the origins of holiday lighting. We're always looking for ways to share our love for this holiday, and to spread some festive cheer with others. While you're humming the harmonies of the holidays and stringing up your outdoor Christmas lights, you can reflect on the interesting histories that founded this fun tradition. After all, knowledge is the greatest gift of all! So, we'd like to share our gift of knowledge about holiday lights with you.

Outdoor Christmas lights
Christmas is for many people, the most popularly celebrated holiday in Canada. Hanging Christmas lights is a tradition that we can trace back to our childhood and one that fills our hearts. But you probably didn't know that electric outdoor Christmas lights were first used in 1880 by Thomas Edison, who hung the glittering bulbs from his Menlo Park laboratory compound. Candles around the Christmas tree were probably first used in Germany in the 18th century, and acted as the first "Christmas lights" in history.

Hanukkah festivities
One of the other better-known winter holidays is the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights, and stems from the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. The central prop in this celebration is the nine-branched Menorah, on which a candle is lit for every day of the 8-day celebration.

Diwali décor
Also known as the Festival of Lights is the Indian celebration Diwali. This is an ancient festival that originated from the celebration of the final harvest of the agricultural year. In modern times, Diwali is seen more as a representation of the triumph of good over evil. More significantly to this article, Diwali is seen as the triumph of light over darkness, and the central encapsulating night of this 5-day festival takes place on the darkest night of the year – the day of the new moon in the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartik.

Lights used in this festival are a representation of each celebrant's internal light. They include lamps, lights, candles, and often fireworks. Lights encompass the interior and exterior of festival homes. You may see Oakville holiday lighting displays to celebrate this important festival.

Kwanzaa lights
Taking place between December 26 and January 1, Kwanzaa celebrates African and African American cultures and feelings of community. For each of the 7 days of the festival, a candle is lit in honour of the 7 principles upon which Kwanzaa was founded. These 7 principles include concepts such as unity, creativity, and faith. The central light is the kinara candleholder, which is surrounded by other important symbols like the communal cup, corn or Mulhindi, and the decorative mat called Mkeka.

Christmas Décor Oakville respects diversity and loves the hope and vitality of these festivals and their unique celebrations of holiday lights. To fend off the winter woes, begin planning your Christmas lighting display today. Receive your complimentary quote from Christmas Décor Oakville and make your home shine for the holidays!


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