Lights are important part of the holiday tradition |

Lights are important part of the holiday tradition

Ronni Hannaman
The Menorah is lit during the Jewish Festival of Lights lasting 8 days to commemorate events that happened more than 2,000 years ago.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

Throughout the centuries, light has been the central theme of the holiday season, no matter the religion. The tradition of lighting ceremonies can be traced back to the pagan era.

Though the focus during the month of December is mostly on the coming of Santa Claus, other religions celebrate this month in their own way, some blending the Christian version with their own using light for many symbolic reasons

Though the focus on today’s holiday lighting is mostly about the spectacle ­­­ and the more lights, the better -the Christians first used lights on their trees to symbolize Christ being the light of the world. They also are to remind one to bring light, hope, and good to the world.

In many east coast cities, homes are simply decorated by putting a single candle in each window. This tradition was brought to America by the Irish who used the single candle to welcome a priest to their home on Christmas.

The Jewish light their Menorahs during the 8- day Festival of Lights during Hanukkah to celebrate the recapturing of their Temple and their victory against the Greeks who wished to subdue their culture. To celebrate, they lit a small vial of oil enough to last one day but, miraculously, stayed lit for eight days. Hanukkah begins the evening of Dec. 22 this year.

Millions of Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains celebrate a five-day festival of light to coincide with the Hindu New Year to celebrate new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil.

The advent wreath used by many European countries holds four candles, representing the four weeks of Advent, one candle is lit each Sunday to begin the countdown to the celebration of the birth of the Savior. Advent begins Sunday, Dec. 1 and ends Dec. 24.

The entire downtown will be lit with many colored lights at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6 and will light the way through the season until the New Year.