A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
8th of December! 8th of December! Save the date!
This is what I started telling my boyfriend probably more than a month before the actual date that is 8th of December. So what was it on this day that got me so excited, that made it so special? Well, I chose to keep that as a secret and didn’t tell him where we were going or for what. All I said was that it would be a Winter Wonderland. This of course got him thinking. A lot. He came up with all kinds of guesses ranging from ice skating to Christmassy musicals and more… But impressively enough I managed to keep it as a secret until the very end, kind of… Until about half an hour or so before we got on the train. That’s not so bad though, right?
So what was it? It was the Delft Lichtjesavond.
Now, you might ask what exactly that is.
In the Donkere Dagen van Delft (Dark Days of Delft) the city organizes an event to light up the city in a beautiful, magical way. However of course the event and the following days are not just limited to these lights. There was a Christmas Market which practically took all over the city. There was Glühwein, hot chocolate, poffertjes, churros and lots of other food and drink options. There were Christmas carolers in almost every street corner; you would come across them in the most unexpected places. There was a Main Stage with wonderful singers and musicians. People were dancing and singing all around the Plein. Everyone was oh-so-very cheerful!
For people who don’t know me personally, I must state here that I am obsessed with Christmas. I love the songs, I love the lights and decorations, I love the joy that it spreads all around us, I love the Christmas themed coffees and cookies, I love the Christmas trees and those ugly Christmas sweaters! I adore the whole thing. So this Winter Wonderland that is Delft Lichtjesavond was simply heaven to my eyes and soul.
Why am I telling you this so long after the 8th of December?
Well firstly, it’s because you probably already got your agenda for the New Year and can already mark Lichtjesavond as a day to save for yourself, friends and family. Oh and how did I forget to mention that shops are open till very late hours (in Dutch Standards that is) and there are many good sales around town!
The second (and more important) reason is as the New Year approaches, I suggest that you take a moment out of your busy schedule to enjoy these last few days of 2015. You deserved it. You may have missed a few deadlines or had a hard time with one of your classes but you made it through this year and that’s reason enough to celebrate.
There are still Christmas trees all around town and the same applies to all the lights and decorations. So get out, meet up with friends grab a drink or two, walk around the city at night and spread the joy. Maybe write down your wishes and plans for 2016, the things you want to accomplish, where you want to see yourself next year around this time.
I always like looking back at what the year has been like and what I want the next year to be like. It’s a nice nostalgic moment wrapped up with new hopes and dreams. A year ago today, I wouldn’t have expected to be where I am right now but that’s what’s great about life. Just when you think you have control over your path and decisions, it throws something your way to prove you otherwise. May the New Year have wonderful surprises for you!