NewsEnchanted by the light glow

Enchanted by the light glow

Why fairy lights are so much more than just kitsch: Part 14 of our Advent stories

Do you think a string of lights is a string of lights is a string of lights? Not at all! There are light nets, light hoses, light curtains, system chains, battery light chains, wire light chains, LED systems, candle light chains, professional light chains … The selection is gigantic, the (financial) effort variable depending on the design requirements.

The spectrum ranges from a few euros in the hardware store to several thousand euros – and then a lot of work. Because real fairy lights fans spare no effort. Most seem to live in the USA anyway, because there has been a trend there to illuminate the entire house including the front yard, window sills, terrace, garages, veranda, garden, fireplace and dog house, probably since a certain Thomas Alva Edison in his Inventor factory near New York made the first carbon filament lamp in 1879. At some point this trend spilled over into good old Europe and thus to dark Germany, where in the 1950s only real candles, small incense smokers and candle arches shone discreetly and maybe a sparkler on the Christmas tree provided a short, hissing hello.

Christmas rituals

For some it is the goose on Christmas Eve, for others it has to be “Three Nuts for Cinderella” in the afternoon program. We all have certain stories, films or rituals that belong to Christmas – and without which our Advent season would only be half as festive. This year you will not only find the popular personal stories in the FR advent calendar, but also raffles every now and then. Good luck and in any case: Happy Holidays! FR

In any case, since my youth I have been more of “Kitsch as Kitsch can”, true to the motto “A lot helps a lot”. In my home, garlands of lights wind over door frames, around the radio, shine under the bed, switch on and off on the balcony with a timer, and I tell everyone about the Moravian Star, whether they want to know or not. Because it hangs here in the country northeast of the Main metropolis on many house facades and church towers and when it’s windy, the star swing looks particularly romantic.

These stars are named after the Moravian community, which had its headquarters in the Görlitz district of Upper Lusatia. The village of Herrnhut was founded in 1722 by the Bohemian Brothers, religious refugees from Moravia. From January 4th to 6th, 1821, a festival was celebrated in the Unitäts-Knabenanstalt in Niesky for the 50th anniversary of the institution, when an illuminated star with 110 points (made according to a simple geometric design) was hung in the courtyard for the first time.

Be that as it may: In my area, where people still greet each other and sweep the sidewalks every Saturday, chains and stars shine everywhere, glowing deer graze in front gardens, wild staccato signals flash out into the darkness. Kitsch is also art. And if it’s really ugly, it’s beautiful again. This is what intellectuals call “ironically broken”.

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