Walk around a magical landscape of light. Image by Caretta Illumination.
With its long dark nights and short near sunless days, winter can sometimes feel like a real downer. But if you’re looking for a little perk-me-up to make your days livelier, you’re in luck this season — just thinking about the various events coming to light up different locales has us feeling warm and fuzzy already.
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To make your sunset hours a jollier affair, artists and cities have come together to light up the lands. From innovative installations to dazzling light shows to vivid technicolour visages, these dreamy places will have you walking in a true winter wonderland.
Garden of Morning Calm, South Korea
Each winter from December to March, the country’s largest private garden transforms into a wonderland with the biggest light festival in the country. As the sun sets, the 30,000 lights scattered throughout the beautiful landscape twinkle on in their multi-coloured splendour. From lit up shrubbery to shimmering figurines and illuminated tunnels, the festival will almost transport you to another world. Save a pocket of time during the day to visit the grounds too; although most of the flora and fauna will not be in bloom, you will still be able to catch pockets of greenery in an indoor garden.
Visit monuments painted over with lights in Lyon. Image by Fete des Lumieres.
Fete des Lumieres, France
The yearly lighting extravaganza is well-known as one of Lyon’s claims to fame. Usually held in December, the four-night celebration illuminates the French city’s streets with dazzling laser shows, installations and even fireworks. Spanning across several districts and featuring key monuments and landmarks such as the St John’s Cathedral and the Rhone River, the free event is engineered by designers from all over the world. There’s also plenty in the city, which has both been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and widely acknowledged as France’s capital of gastronomy, to occupy your daylight hours.
Medellin Christmas Lighting Festival, Colombia
In an impressive demonstration, Colombia’s second largest city will be inundated with over 30 million LED bulbs and 42,000 decorative displays during their Christmas Lighting Festival. Held in December, the month-long event turns Medellin into a wondrous dreamscape come night time. Marvel at amazing large-scale installations peppered throughout the streets; past iterations featured an 8-storey-tall Christmas tree made out of lights and twinkling water lilies floating in a pond. And rest assured if you’re worried about the massive power consumption as the event relies heavily on renewable energy.
The Caretta Shiodome illumination is one of the country’s most popular. Image by Caretta Illumination.
Caretta Shiodome Illumination, Japan
In a city fascinated with “illuminations”, which is what the locals term light festivals, the Caretta Shiodome Illumination has managed to stand out year upon year. And with approximately 250,000 lights enveloping soaring trees and an impressive show put on every 20 minutes where the lights dance along to a dramatic soundtrack, it’s not hard to imagine why. Walk around the romantic grounds in Tokyo with your loved ones from December to February but do note that the event typically closes on 1st and 2nd January.
London Lumiere, United Kingdom
Britain’s largest light festival is usually held in London in January. The quirky and vibrant event will see more than 40 local and international designers collaborating to brighten the capital’s streets. Some of the highlights include a digital painting projected on Westminster Abbey’s Great West Gate and an interactive light and sound installation titled Aether that will grow and splinter along to a soundtrack. The works will cover both sides of the river Thames, with most of them concentrated in West End, King’s Cross, South Bank and Waterloo.