The Faroese artist, Edward Fuglø has designed this year's Christmas Seals, which depict Christmas Windows.
As Advent approaches, Christmas windows begin lighting up villages and neighbourhoods, representing the first sign of the quickly approaching holiday.
The tradition of telling the world that the people in your home are celebrating Christmas is centuries old – almost as old as windows themselves in our part of the world.
In ancient times, it was common to place a candle in the window on Christmas Eve and let it burn all night until Christmas morning – if it did not burn out before then. Some women used to stay up all night to watch the burning candle as peace descended upon the house.
Christmas night must have been cosy. The holiest night of the year in a village covered with snow and under the glimmering stars, as bright windows celebrated the baby Jesus – a moment far from the arduous tasks of everyday life required just to survive.
New traditions emerged in the late nineteenth century, as more Christmas decorations from abroad reached the Faroe Islands, such as paper cuttings and other decorations to hang in windows. At first, these were probably only found in the fine houses of Torshavn and the larger villages, but the customs slowly spread to the rest of the islands.
Christmas windows also changed in the middle of the twentieth century with the arrival of electricity. This made it possible to buy Christmas stars made of paper with a light bulb inside, which were soon accompanied in windows by strings of small multicoloured lights. The industrial revolution made life more commercial and Christmas became a part of these modern times.
Christmas went from being a holiday lasting one to two days, to something that lasted much longer. Today it is not uncommon to see decorated Christmas windows from November until late January and there are virtually no limits to how we decorate for Christmas.
The candle in the window has now become an ocean of light that sparkles and shines in many colours. Entire houses, ships, and even villages shine out, virtually sweeping away the dark and heavy days. Christmas is a children’s holiday that also awakens the childish spirit in adults as we are moved by the Christmas spirit.
Happily and full of anticipation, we go up to the attic to get our Christmas decorations – including something beautiful to hang in the Christmas window.