Our Readers' Opinions
December 18, 2012

Lighting up and lightening our spirits

Tue Dec 18, 2012

Our unique Nine Mornings Festival officially began this past Saturday, with activities taking place both at the national and community levels. From all reports, very large crowds have been turning out at the various venues around the country, with those in attendance participating enthusiastically in the free, open-air activities.{{more}}

This is encouraging, and says that, despite the efforts of the criminal minority among us to make us feel insecure in our homes and communities, Vincentians are still comfortable enough to leave home in the wee hours of the morning, in the company of their children, to participate in our unique Christmas festival.

This year’s festival is being celebrated under the theme: “Celebrating a unique Vincentian tradition”, and involves the usual singing, dancing, fun games, ring games, bicycle riding and other competitions, hosted by communities for the nine mornings (except Sunday) before Christmas.

One of the more eagerly anticipated parts of Nine Mornings is the “lighting up” of communities, private homes and businesses. Although this year, very few members of our corporate community have contributed to the Christmas atmosphere by decorating their buildings, our community groups are fully on board, with 42 communities taking part in the national light up competition this year.

Judging in the community lighting competition of the national Nine Mornings activities begins this Friday, and our people must be commended for the spirit of volunteerism and community togetherness they continue to display in their efforts to create breathtaking Christmas scenes on meager financial resources.

The number of communities taking part this year is slightly down from last year’s 51, but the level of participation is still highly commendable, taking into consideration the economic challenges under which St Vincent and the Grenadines, like most of the rest of the world, is operating.

The lighting competition is sponsored by St Vincent Electricity Services Ltd (VINLEC), which provides the communities with a small stipend to buy lights and cover other expenses. The bulk of the work, however, is done by unpaid community volunteers, who put in long hours conceptualizing and designing the display and then building the frames and finally stringing the lights, resulting in the uplifting nighttime Christmas scenes, now on display all across the country.

The lighting competition has been a part of the Nine Mornings Festival for the past 13 years, and has added a new dimension to how we celebrate Christmas here. Driving from community to community to look at the lights has now become an important part of Christmas for many families.

The community displays not only “light up the place”, they also play an important role in lifting our spirits, or at least temporarily lightening whatever burdens we may face at this time. Importantly, the Christmas lights should also remind us of the reason for the season, and of He who is the light of the world, who promised that whoever follows Him will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.