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Midwinter: Lighting up Our Homes

Through the darkest time of the year, humans have always celebrated the return of the light, the longer days.

Hilltop bonfires and sophisticated astronomical instruments like Stonehenge, marked the solstice and the return of the light in Britain. Early Northern Europeans worshipped the oak tree for its strength and longevity; at the solstice they burned entire trees. We now burn the Yule Log, sometimes just on the television screen. Mistletoe was similarly valued because it lived symbiotically with the oak, and its white berries promised light to come. The Roman festival of Saturnalia with torches, parades, feasting, days of role-shifting and misrule mapped onto these northern traditions as the Roman culture moved outward through conquest. This deep history of solstice celebrations melded with the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ: the brilliant star, gifts, the decorated tree, and feasting.

In New England, and on Fishers Island we light up our houses; we continue the tradition of chasing away the darkness. The light connects us to the natural world spilling out onto the snow. We place bright versions of forest creatures on our lawns domesticating and lighting up the wild. In most years, lights mark our homes as places for people to visit, to be safe and to feast on traditional sweets and drinks.

There has been little visiting this year, but Fishers Island homes are bright, chasing away the darkness and looking toward the longer, healthier days ahead.

We continue to celebrate the light.

Prish Pierce

Salesperson, C21 Shutters & Sails

Available for all your real estate questions and for all real estate service


Photos by Arabella Meyer and Laurie Finan