Throughout the year, we use candles as part of our celebrations. Candles on a birthday cake, candles inside a jack-o-lantern. This time of year we see many more uses of light in celebrations.
Winter Solstice, a celebration of Light and the return of the Sun, has been celebrated for thousands of years. It was known in old Europe as Yule. People burned the Yule log to celebrate.
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and is a remembrance of the miracle when there was only enough oil for the Temple lamp for one day. Instead, it lasted eight days. Starting last night (December 12th), a candle in the menorah is lit each day until the celebration ends on December 20th.
Kwanzaa, a modern holiday celebrating African-American heritage, uses a special candle holder called a kinara that holds seven candles, each color has a special meaning. Kwanzaa lasts from December 26 to January 1st. Each day a candle is lit.
Christmas is celebrated many days before the actual day, December 25th. Lights play a large part in Christian celebrations because of the belief that Jesus is the Light of the World. Lights on trees, on houses, around the inside of houses. In a time without electricity lit candles were used instead. Lights on the Christmas tree came with the German immigrants and became a tradition. Candles pinned or glued with wax to the branches of a dead evergreen? I can just imagine the danger of fire.
|a Christmas card designed by Adele Soderberg|
Today is St. Lucia’s feast day in Sweden. Legend goes that while secretly bringing food to persecuted Christians (around 300 AD) she wore candles in a wreath on her head to keep her hands free.
A tradition popular in the American southwest that has spread around the country are luminarias, candles in a bag with sand that outlines the path to one’s house. Christmas traditions in other countries can be found here.
Some people really get into decorating with lights—to the point of competition. Others like to coordinate the lights with music. All fun unless they go overboard. Imagine their electric bill. As entertaining as they are, I’m not so sure I’d want to live next door.
There is something, though, about lights that bring joy and happiness. Maybe because light dispels the gloom and early darkness at this time of year, when daylight is shorter, and reminds us that spring isn’t too far off.
When I asked my cover designer to incorporate a candle in the cover for my latest release, Romance Rekindled, she did a great job.
Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?
Sam Watson embraces transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did.