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Grand Illumination

Christmas

Grand Illumination

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A Grand Illumination is an outdoor ceremony involving the simultaneous activation of lights. The most common form of the ceremony is for turning on Christmas lights.

One of the older of such community events began in the restored Virginia capital city of Williamsburg in 1935, and is held there each year on the Sunday of the first full weekend in December. (That is, if December begins on a Sunday, the event is held the following Sunday.) Williamsburg's Grand Illumination is derived from a colonial (and English) tradition of placing lighted candles in the windows of homes and public buildings to celebrate a special event. The winning of a war, and birthdays of the reigning monarchs (King and/or Queen), were examples of such national events. The American tradition of fireworks displays for Independence Day, the English tradition surrounding Bonfire Night, as well as other holidays and events, are of a similar nature. There were many candles set in darkened windows in New York after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

In recent times, in many cities much larger than Williamsburg, such as Richmond, Virginia, multiple skyscrapers and other buildings are decorated with long mostly-vertical strings of a common theme, and are activated simultaneously in "Grand Illumination" ceremonies. Some communities, such as Norfolk, Virginia and Asheville, North Carolina, have Grand Illumination parades. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a similar event is called the "Grand Illumination On The River." In Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts on Martha's Vineyard, Grand Illumination is one of the most significant events each summer, immediately preceded by a Community Sing. In the United Kingdom, the "Grand Illumination" ceremony is generally referred to as "Turning On The Lights", and occurs in virtually all towns and cities throughout the country.

Trivia

  • In the 1989 comedy film National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, actor Chevy Chase plays a man who attempts to follow American family Christmas traditions with elaborate Christmas lights and decorations on the exterior of the family home. His comedic attempt at a "Grand Illumination" for a family reunion is one of the high points of the story. The film has become an annual holiday favorite in many families.

See also

External links and sources


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Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.