Perhaps it’s familiarity but my eyes always light up when I see banners illuminated in a language not my own… a Nollaig Shona or a Feliz Navidad.
Or any of the 7,000 languages in the world.
Although understandably there are more than their fair share there that don’t celebrate Christmas.
Heck, half the gospels don’t reference the Nativity at all, but we’ll pass over that…
After all it’s a long time since Christmas was ever anything to do with Christ anyway.
Instead then here we’ll shine a light on a handful of special lights shows around the time the world switches on.
To what are now called instead the Holiday Season.
Dublin’s flair city
Dublin (Nollaig Shona): And Dublin’s narrow shopping hub Grafton Street is where the Nollaig Shona banners stand out most.
And where Bono has been known to occasionally busk, but don’t let that put you off.
Cathedral of lights
But, of course, better still would be to enjoy the festivities in Espana.
And I’m told that Malaga is the place to go.
The city has a new design this year with 16 celestial angels on 32 columns that stretch the entire length of Calle Larios.
Turkey (Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun): Patara, St Nicholas (or Santie as we’d call him today) is just a Roman ruins now.
With ne’er a chimney to come down.
But they do mark this time of the year in the muslim country, with Istanbul, its largest city being one of the most cosmopolitan hubs in the world.
We’re reliably told that Istiklal is especially strung out with stylish festive lights.
Between buildings with chestnuts roasting on an open brazier fire.
Lap it up
Lapland (Hyvaaa joulua Lapissa): So how has a Turkish holy man come to be relocated in our minds to Lapland.
Or more specifically Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland?
Well radio broadcaster Marcus Rautio claimed it for the Finns.
When he said that Santa’s workshop had been discovered in 1927.
While the earliest reference to him living in the North Pole is from a magazine cartoon from as 1866.
The best lights here though will be the heavenly dancers, the Northern lights.
O little star
And only Matthew and Luke carry the story while Mark and John skip his birth.
But Bethlehem does light up at this time of year with the historic Moravian district slated as the place to be.
So whether it’s a Nollaig Shona or a Feliz Navidad or whatever your language Happy Holidays everyone.