MIDDLEBURY — Governor Scott’s recent call for Vermonters to “Light the Way” has inspired the Vermont Folklife Center to ask Vermonters from a variety of backgrounds what it means to share light with others during the darkest days of the year. Audio shorts drawn from these conversations are now available through Instagram, Facebook and the Vermont Folklife Center website.
Dec. 21 marks the winter solstice — the point at which the annual process of shortening days and lengthening nights reaches its peak, bringing the shortest day (or longest night, if you prefer) of the year. The solstice is a turning point; in the days, weeks and months that follow, the light returns — dependably — as it always has.
“As we slog through the lingering darkness and await the return of the light, it is no surprise that cultures across the world back to the late Neolithic Age have filled this period with festivals, feasting, dance, song and bonfires that emphasize, above almost anything else, the persistence of light,” the Folklife Center said in a release.
“Listening in Place: Winter Lights” explores the significance of sharing light during this darkest time of the year—a period that brings, among other things, Hanukkah menorahs on kitchen tables, colored lights on trees and buildings, illuminated nativity scenes and giant, glowing inflatable Santas in front yards, and bonfires that echo the European Pagan past and celebrate the Neo-Pagan present.
To experience “Listening in Place: Winter Lights,” follow @vermontfolklife on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or visit www.vtfolklife.org to listen to this series of audio shorts. Vermonters are also invited to record their own conversations and reflections about sharing light this time of year and submit them to the Listening in Place Sound Archive: www.vtfolklife.org/sound-archive