Season of Light

Approximate running time: 35 minutes
Produced by Loch Ness Productions

Light up the cold dark season with a warm and bright holiday show!

Season of Light explores the reasons humans are so fascinated with lighting up our lives during the December holiday s eason. It's an exploration of the astronomical meanings behind seasonal traditions, including the "Star over Bethlehem".

When the December holiday season rolls around each year, planetarians often present special programs that combine astronomy and holiday traditions. One of the most popular shows in the Loch Ness Productions repertory is Season of Light. It's an elegant and sophisticate d program about the coldest and darkest of seasons — a time which holds some of the warmest and brightest celebrations of the year.

This presentation traces the history and development of many of the world's most endearing holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season — from the burning Yule log, sparkling Christmas tree lights and candles in windows, to the lig hting of luminarias in the American Southwest and the traditional ritual of the Hanukkah Menorah.

The show also recounts the historical religious and cultural rituals practiced during the ti me of winter solstice — not only Christian and Jewish, but also Celtic, Nordic, Roman, Irish, Mexican and Hopi. It also takes a look at some of our more light-hearted seasonal traditions: from gift- giving and kissing under the mistletoe, to songs about lords a-leaping and ladies dancing, and the custom of decking the halls with greenery and candles. St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Kris Kringle, Fathe r Christmas, and Santa Claus all drop by as well.

Naturally, there is some astronomy in Season of Light. Audiences learn a selection of Northern hemisphere winter constellations, and find ou t why we even have seasons, as we demonstrate the Sun's path across the sky throughout the year, and the Earth's tilt and orbit around the Sun. And of course, the program explores the possible astrono mical explanations for a "Star over Bethlehem" in the last quarter of the show: comets, meteors, novae and supernovae, and planetary conjunctions.

Season of Light is visually rich, culturall y inclusive, musically satisfying, and soothing as a warm drink on a cold winter's night — and the perfect program for that end-of-the-year program slot!