Festivals are a thing of joy, bringing together family, friends and like-minded people from around the world! They tend to shine a ray of hope especially during times of crisis or bleak periods like winter. People generally like to stay indoors in the comfort of their warm homes, rather than be out and about in the cold weather.
There are many festivals which are commonly celebrated during lean months, to keep people’s spirits high, and also help with the economy. Sydneysiders are probably well informed in this regard with Vivid Sydney, a celebration of light, music and ideas spread across 23 days between May and June. This festival was conceived as an idea to attract tourists and creative minds to Sydney during the onset of winter, which is the beginning of the lean tourist period.
Vivid light installations are a testament to the best of creativity in colour, design and technology and they change the face of Sydney Harbour during the night. The best of Vivid is displayed in and around the harbour and your best views, sans crowds, will undoubtedly be on a Vivid dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour. These cruises offer the best of both worlds, giving people the opportunity to take in the brilliance of the Vivid lights festival, at the same time enjoy a unique dining experience on Sydney Harbour!
There are many other iconic light festivals around the world… let’s look at a few of them:
Nabana no Sato Festival (Japan)
A beautiful festival that has to be seen first-hand, as the pictures don’t do enough justice! Nabana No Sato is a park on an island that’s famous for its flowers and from the end of October to March, the park is illuminated with over 8 million LED lights. This transforms the place to a winter paradise, straight out of a fairy tale!
There is a theme for each year and the displays change accordingly. One year it was a representation of Mount Fuji, another year was a 20-metre tall Niagara Falls model. An iconic attraction of the Winter Light Festival of Nabana no Sato is a 200-metre long light tunnel, with each bulb of the tunnel representing a tiny flower, making it a spectacular sight to behold and walk through. Time your visit to Japan to coincide with this spectacular festival of lights that take the best of nature and technology to create a visual extravaganza!
Spring Lantern Festival (China)
Releasing lanterns that rise into the night sky is a beautiful sight, but when thousands of such lanterns are released into the night sky, it creates a grand visual spectacle, with the area becoming a virtual ocean of lanterns! You can see such a site at the Lantern Festival or the Spring Lantern Festival in China, which is the celebration of the first month of the Chinese calendar, falling in February or March.
A festival which has its origins from 206 BC, the Spring Lantern festival still has a global following, with many similar festivals coming up in other locations as well. The lanterns are almost always red, and some are now in the shape of animals as well. Releasing the lanterns signifies people letting go of their past identities and getting new ones for the New Year!
Another annual festive celebration that accompanies a wide range of lights and pyrotechnic effects is Diwali. Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and the highlight of the celebration is millions of lights shining all over the country, from rooftops and window sills, to dispel darkness from everywhere. A five-day celebration, each day is associated with many traditions, with the fifth day culminating in stunning pyrotechnic demonstrations with firecrackers being lit.
Diwali means rows of clay lamps and they are main source of light, with row after row being used to decorate buildings, making it a soothing sight for the eye. The fifth day coincides with the dark night or a new moon night, making the lights shine even brighter!