The Sacred and the Profane*

I adore Christmas lights. So twinkly and bright. I have always loved visiting the lights at Temple Square each year when I was growing up. At least, each year I could persuade someone to take me before I could drive. So I was thrilled to learn that New Orleans has a similar attraction during the holiday season called Celebration in the Oaks. I went last year and quickly discovered that while there were lights a-plenty, it was a very different feel. Let’s take a look at these two Christmas traditions.

First up, Celebration in the Oaks. I went there a few weeks ago with some friends. There are lots of shapes made of lights because nothing says Christmas like angels, dinosaurs, mushrooms and vegetables.

Celebration in the Oaks has more of a fair or carnival feel to it. After all, there are rides:

and you can buy a funnel cake:

We even took a train ride where the lights went all psychedelic (due to my camera):

Even though my friends look bundled up in the picture below, it really wasn’t that cold. I only wore a corduroy jacket and a scarf and felt a little chilled. Later, we went for hot chocolate and beignets.

This past Monday I went to see the lights at Temple Square. I had to go by myself since no one else would go with me. I put on my huge down parka that I left in Salt Lake because I knew I would never need it in New Orleans and wrapped my neck and mouth up in a scarf. I even put on mittens for the first time all winter, but it didn’t save me from the cold. For Christmas, my mom chipped in to help me buy a new lens for my camera. I got a 50 mm f1.8, which is supposed to be good for low light situations, so I was really excited to try it out at Temple Square where you only find lights and nativity scenes.

Want to hear the really sad thing about this visit to Temple Square? I had waited until my very last day in Salt Lake and was so excited, and then my battery died before I was even half way through. Luckily I had the iphone for backup and used it while walking through the Main Street Plaza.

The dead battery served as a perfect excuse for getting out of the cold earlier than I would have otherwise.

I really love both the Celebration in the Oaks and Temple Square. If only the two could be combined, it would be perfect. But I guess that’s always been one of my difficulties in life – trying to combine the sacred with the profane.

*when speaking of the profane, I don’t mean this in a derogatory sense. rather, I use it as a synonym for “secular” and as an allusion to the dichotomy that has been represented in Art History, as well as cultural theory criticism, of the sacred and the profane.

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5 comments

  1. Kylie · December 31, 2009

    I had no idea that you can buy vegetable shaped lights. That is so, so awesome. Oh my gosh.

    *Sigh* Your photos are amazing, especially the few that you got at Temple Square. I think that lens is working for you. So beautiful!

  2. kellie · January 1, 2010

    Lovely Temple Square photos! Glad you had a great trip. Happy New Year, friend! XO

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