Sunday, December 7, 2008

La Fête des Lumières

The Festival of Lights takes place every year in Lyon on the days leading up to December
8th--the day of the actual holiday. The residents of Lyon place candles in their windows on this day to express gratitude to the Virgin Mary for sparing them from the plague (or maybe it has something to do with good weather, I've heard different stories). Regardless of the original intent, like all good modern holidays, it has been elongated and enlarged to get more people to spend more money. And it was quite cool.

Normal Christmas type lights, and of course the lights in the windows, are common, but also in a few key areas of Lyon, really extravagant light shows are erected. Interesting decorations and lights around popular statues, beautiful light patterns projected on older buildings, and even "movies" projected across buildings. And I don't mean movies like Super Troopers or the Matrix, but cool animations that match the existing shape and contours of the building, and are quite amazing to watch. All of the decorations were cool.

Like all good festivals, there was also lots of good food and drink. Vin chaud, wine mixed with cinnamon and apples and heated, seems to be the preferred drink of the night. It was cold, so I definitely understand why this drink is so popular, and I had a few cups to warm the bones.

This festival is quite popular, and the place was packed. Compared to Seattle, Lyon generally seems overcrowded, but this was like Disney Land crowded. I brought my good camera and my tripod, so I could get good long exposure night shots, and every shot had about 150 people walking thru my picture and bumping my tripod. I got a few good shots though, so to see more pics click here.

1 comment:

Scott McArthur said...

Sweet. Vin Chaud sounds similar to wassail here. (you know "Here we go a wassailing among the blah blah blah...")