Festival of Lights

We’ll be decking the halls and the classrooms here at the EEC on December 21st for our annual Festival of Lights celebration.  Yes, there will be boughs of holly, but also dradles, Buddha statues, and a boar’s head! 

Many cultures have holiday celebrations on or around the winter solstice; the shortest day of the year.  Eight holiday traditions from around the world will be celebrated at the EEC this season including Christmas, Chanukah, St Lucia, Bodhi Day, Saturnalia, Choimus, Boar’s Head, and Yule Log. 

The legacy room is transformed to represent the Persian festival, Yalda. (Photo by Tim Fenner)

Through the hard work of interns, staff, and volunteers, the EEC campus will be transformed into a fun-spirited holiday wonderland.  From 5pm until 9pm, guests are invited to travel around the EEC campus to learn about and experience all of these diverse festivities.  Rooms are decorated so festively, that you will feel as though you’ve traveled around the world in a single evening.  Each holiday station offers reading displays, cultural activities, and a taste of traditional desserts!

Most of the holidays change each year, so there is always something new to learn.  “I knew little about Chanukah before Festival of Lights last year,” said second year intern, Karie, “I switched to Bodhi Day this year to learn something else totally new.” 

Mike & Emily demonstrate the djembe drums for Kwanzaa. (Photo by Tim Fenner)

Julia, another second year, said, “Before the festival last year, I had never even heard of Junkanoo but, now I would love to experience the actual celebration in action!”

In addition to the celebrations, guests are invited to attend one of two dinner seatings.  Each year, a delectable, seasonal dinner is prepared by Executive Chef Larkin Rogers.   This year, dinners are served at 6:00pm and 7:30pm.  Seating is limited and reservations are required, so make sure you get a ticket in advance! 

Dinner tables in the Lipscomb dining hall. (Photo by Tim Fenner)

What really contributes to the ambience of the whole evening, are the luminary lit paths all around the EEC campus.  With a little bit of snow on the ground, the lights reflect beautifully through the forest.  There truly is a fun holiday spirit in the air.

Luminaries set the ambience for the evening. (Photo by Tim Fenner)

Emily Garrison, 2012 festival coordinator, says, “It’s wonderful to see the gathering of friends and family here in the park.  Everyone is here to learn and have a good time…and to eat sweets!  Who doesn’t love a good holiday party?”

Michelle & Erica prepare to share the Bodhi Day tradition with guests.

Guests write prayers on luminaries for Loy Krathong. (Photo by Tim Fenner)

Bundle up and join us this year! Perhaps you can even make Festival of Lights one of your own holiday traditions.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Tis the season to be jolly!  Fa la la la la!

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