Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Illumination Night

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Each year on the third Wednesday in August the gingerbread cottages I wrote about in my "G" post are lit with Chinese and Japanese lanterns for the Grand Illumination Night.

The Illumination Night has been held since the 1800s and was originally conceived as a promotional tool to lure potential buyers to properties in the area. As the years went on the community rallied around the event as it grew larger and more festive.

In the present day, the Grand Illumination is one of the biggest events of the summer and includes a band concert and a community sing-along. At 9:00 the streetlights go out and the paper lanterns come on so spectators can walk through the narrow streets and enjoy the cottages.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to my mom I've been to an Illumination Night but I can't say I remember it. Someday I hope to go again, although I'd skip the sing-along. Anyone who has ever heard me sing would know why. :D




My A-Z of Martha's Vineyard theme is inspired by my book, The Ghosts of Aquinnah, which is set on the island. Click here for all the info on the book.

39 comments:

  1. Odd mix of cultures, but that would be really cool to see. Hope you get back there some August.

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  2. I can't sing either, Julie, but just let someone try to stop me!
    It's amazing that they would go to all that trouble to lure buyers. There are people today who wouldn't even bother to clean the bath before trying to sell their home!
    If I ever get to visit Martha's Vineyard I must remember to go in August. I love illuminations. Oddly enough I live not too far from Blackpool (England) and I've only seen the illuminations twice (shame on me).

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  3. Wow, this is so beautiful! I love lights like this...

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  4. Hi human, Julie,

    I do hope you manage to see the Illumination Night again. I could also cover my floppy ears if you began singing. I'd like to take a chomp out of that house in the photo :)

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

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  5. I bet this is a wonderful thing to see.

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  6. Having been to a few lantern festivals in Japan, I can say I would love to be in the region for an Illumination Night sometime. :)

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  7. That sounds like a lot of fun! And I hear you about the singalong - if I was there, I'd have to mouth the words. :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

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  8. What a brilliant idea! I love the mix of cultures.

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  9. Oh, wow! I love anything to do w/lights, so this is something I'd love to get to see one day. So, so pretty & magical. Now where'd my bucket list go, must write this down... =)

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  10. @Alex, I hope so.

    @Fanny, LOL, that's a good point.

    @Heather, aren't the pretty?

    @Natasha, I agree.

    @Penny, I don't think it would taste very good LOL.

    @Suzanne, it must be.

    @Trisha, oh, I'd love to see something like that in Japan someday.

    @Madeline, LOL, mouthing the words is my specialty. :D

    @Bish, I do too.

    @Leandra, I love lights too, they just look so pretty. :)

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  11. For one awful moment you were shoeing us Christmas lights. But I like the idea of an Illumination Night earlier in the year and not for months from October.

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  12. Fun tradition. I'd love to experience this one some time.

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  13. I always enjoy hearing how celebrations grow from purpose and into another. Originally promotion and now a gathering to entertain and delight the community.

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  14. How pretty! I would love to see this for real!

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  15. Funny how sunlight can enhance and brighten a place, but the absence of light can highlight the detail.

    Lovely little cottages. I'd like one. I loved the Illumination tour down the Seine River in Paris. It made me feel I'd arrived. (and I had just)

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  16. How fun! I would love a community tradition like this. We had a few when I lived in Upstate NY, although I can't remember what they were specifically. We weren't there long. Brr. But, I do remember sitting on top of our roof watching fireworks over Lake Ontario.

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  17. You make it so clear how much you love the island.

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  18. I so want to go there!!! I love places that have hung onto their distinct culture.

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  19. A lovely tradition, even if it was originally a marketing tool.

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  20. Oh, I was hoping this would be your I day! You SHOULD go - I've never been to such an unusual, magical, beautiful celebration. You would love it :)

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  21. @Bob, LOL. I never thought of that but it is nice for the summer.

    @Tim, I wish I remembered when I did.

    @Lee, I know, it's interesting, isn't it?

    @Kyra, agreed!

    @DG, oh, I can imagine that is amazing in Paris.

    @Crystal, that sounds so lovely. Just sitting on the roof would be fun. :)

    @Inger, I really do.

    @Elizabeth, I agree.

    @LD, I know, it's kind of funny how it started.

    @Liz, I know I would. One of these years!

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  22. Both pics look like nice and cozy places. One could probably get some good writing done, there :)

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  23. That would be an amazing site! I wish I could see all of those adorable Gingerbread houses lit up with lanterns. *sighs*

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  24. Truly lovely, I remember that some of my favorite walks through the neighborhood came during the holidays when all the houses were lit up. It creates such a feeling of warmth and acceptance!

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  25. @Mark, oh, I bet you could. I'd love to find out. :)

    @Chrys, I wish I could too, one of these days.

    @Laura, agreed!

    @Yolanda, that's so true. :)

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  26. Those are stunning! It must be quite a sight with all of them lit up like that! :)

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  27. I would go and sing-along with a care in the world :D

    Sharu
    www.livelaughlovewithsharu.wordpress.com
    A-Z Participant

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  28. @Lexa, totally agree.

    @Sharu, you should go sometime! :)

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  29. What a night! Even if you can't sing, you could hum or just smile at the joy of the night!

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  30. All those lights are so pretty. It would be my favorite night on the island.

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  31. So pretty! I love how communities find interesting ways of celebrating. We have the Great Pumpkinfest every October but it's a less than a decade old. Amazing that Illumination night has been going on for hundreds of years.

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  32. What a great tradition and so lovely. I am with you in the singing dept. If I sing the plumber would come to check the pipes

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  33. Oh my goodness, that sounds awesome! I'm sad to say I've never been to this particular festivity before (nor heard of it before now). Man, if I wasn't dying to visit Martha's Vineyard before I certainly am now!

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  34. Very pretty. Visiting from the A to Z sign up page.

    Best regards,
    Elizabeth

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  35. They do have some interesting traditions! The lights must be fascinating and pretty to look at.

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  36. @Susan, I guess I could manage the humming LOL.

    @Nana, I agree.

    @shelly, wouldn't it?

    @Marcy, oh, I would love the Great Pumpkinfest. I love autumn.

    @Birgit, LOL. :D

    @Beverly, oh, I hope you are able to visit!

    @Elizabeth, thanks for visiting!

    @Joy, I know, I hope I can see them again someday.

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Thank you for your comments!