Into The Light

(Christ Jesus, but Christmas has galloped like a motherfucker, this year. Just the other day, it seems, I easily went to sleep, at the dawn of December . . . only to awake to find the thing nearly here.

(Guess, now, it’s time to start wheelbarrowing back onto the blog yuletide faves, from Decembers gone by. We’ll start with one from last year. Or maybe that was the year before . . . . )

The French, they can differ from other humans.

They are for instance known, in the immortal, if crude, words of National Lampoon, as folks who “fight with their feet and fuck with their faces.”

Now it seems they have determined that a proper way to honor Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth, is to light up a building like a pinball machine, and then play it.

For many centuries, the people of Lyon have in early December paid homage to Mary, in gratitude to the goddess-woman for interceding with the Mean Man to spare the place from the plague, back in 1643.

In them Olden Times, said homage involved a procession culminating at the Basilica of Fourviere, where candles were lit and offerings presented.

In 1852, the sculptor Joseph Hugues Fabisch erected a Mary statue next to the Basilica. The people of Lyon in that year planned for December 8 a mammoth Mary party. Here is what happened:

Leading up to the inauguration, everything was in place for the festivities: the statue was lit up with flares, fireworks were readied for launching from the top of Fourvière Hill and marching bands were set to play in the streets. The prominent Catholics of the time suggested lighting up the facades of their homes as was traditionally done for major events such as royal processions and military victories.

However, on the morning of the big day, a storm struck Lyon. The master of ceremonies hastily decided to cancel everything and to push back the celebrations to the following Sunday. In the end the skies cleared and the people of Lyon, who had been eagerly anticipating the event, spontaneously lit up their windows, descended into the streets and lit flares to illuminate the new statue and the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière, later superseded by the Basilica. The people sang songs and cried “Vive Marie!” until late in the night.

In years since, Lyon humans have each December 8 placed Mary-devoted lit-candles on their windowsills. The place is each year alive with light. Meanwhile, in the center of town, various assorted performances and such have built upon one another until these days they draw up to 4 million tourists, to what has become a four-day event.

As it is necessary on this planet that things mutate to survive, the Mary-fest now features some very clever humans, from the French lighting company CT Light Concept, who project with colored lights an assortment of pinball bumpers and flippers onto the side of the Celestine Theater. The display fully playable, as can be seen in the video below.

Pretty cool.

Frisky and alive.

The French: good with light. Knowing Mary as the one and only. And thereby sailing into the great wide open.

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3 Responses to “Into The Light”


  1. 1 Rain Jeys December 21, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Christmas really did sprint its way here, didn’t it? I love this French light creation. It’s beautiful.

    • 2 bluenred December 21, 2013 at 2:26 am

      I believe some Science Men need to do a Study to determine whether the insanely onrushing galloping of Christmas this year may have Violated the Laws of space-time. It came upon us, Christmas, this year, at a truly indecent speed. I am convinced that, in this, Laws, they were Broken.


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