Saturday, 28 November 2009
This week's PhotoHunt theme # 189 is "Technology".
Electric lighting is a technology that has changed our world entirely. One example is how we decorate for Christmas. Elisabet is checking to see if there are enough batteries in her Lucia-crown that she plans to wear on the 13th of December. The original tradition was to wear lighted, wax candles, which meant that most wearers wrapped a damp towl on their head under the candled-crown, and could only wear this fire-hazard the short time it takes to slowly and majestically step in and around a room, and sing a few Lucia-songs.
A Christmas tree with real candles was also only lit for a short time, and as the high point of a gathering, and then all the candles were quickly snuffed out. A brightly lit room in the evening, was something unusual, expensive and exclusive; something for a very special occation.
Modern electric lighting lets us continue working or playing long after the sun has set.
And perhaps this is longer than our bodies and souls were meant to stay awake.
In a time when only live fire was a source of light outside of the light of day, fire was an ever-present threat. You never left a room with a candle burning. An empty room was also a dark room.
Tomorrow is the first of Advent. We will put up our electric window-lights to mark this. It is a chore I do each year to make our house look cheerier for passers-by during the gloomiest time of the year.
Don't curse the darkness.
Switch a light on instead!
[Footnote # 1: Many of the ideas expressed in this post were inspired by Anden i Lampan (1993) by Jan Garnert. It is translated into English as well as Chinese.
To find out more please visit Jan Garnert's site: http://www.jangarnert.se/]
[Footnote #2: What or who is or was Lucia? What happens on the 13th of December? Does this all have anything to with something that happens on the 10th of December? If you think you know, write a comment and share with others!]