Niche it!
BobbyGs Info

Finish Line

Grand Illumination


Grand Illumination

Back | Home | Up | Next

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.


  • 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

Home | Up | Santa Claus | Advent calendar | Advent wreath | American Christmas traditions | Ashen faggot | Christmas Bird Count | Bracebridge dinner | Bubble light | Christmas card | Carols by Candlelight | Christmas cracker | Christmas customs in Poland | Christmas customs in Romania | Christmas customs in the Philippines | Christmas dinner | Christmas tree | Christmas worldwide | Christmastime greetings | Festival of Trees | Garland | German Christmas traditions | Grand Illumination | Hanukkah bush | Holiday Trail of Lights | Hollywood Christmas Parade | Koleda | Koledari | Kūčios | Christmas lights | Christmas Market | National Christmas Tree | Nativity scene | Nutcracker | Christmas ornament | Pagan beliefs surrounding Christmas | Pasterka | Christmas pickle | Pumpkin pie | Rich's Great Tree | Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree | Royal Christmas Message | Santa Claus | Santa Claus parade | Santa's Grotto | Santon | Christmas stamp | Christmas stocking | Striezelmarkt | Toronto Santa Claus Parade | Tree topper | Twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper | Christmas village | Wassailing | Wigilia | Yule Goat | Yule log

Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

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

Barnes & Noble