Edinburgh, a city steeped in history, treats the festive season very well. This year, Edinburgh Christmas successfully combines past and present in the form of a Giant Advent Calendar.
The Advent Calendar dates back to the mid 19th century, when German Protestants chalked their doors or lit candles to count down to Christmas. These days, the tradition doesnâ€™t strictly follow the liturgical period of Advent, and there are probably more secular than religious calendars in circulation. But, from biblical verses and inspirational mottos, to chocolate, gin or beauty treats and Â so to miniature LEGO constructions, thereâ€™s a â€˜prizeâ€™ behind every door.
Edinburghâ€™s Giant Advent Calendar surprises us with an unexpected slice of the cityâ€™s past. Every evening between 1-24 December, General Register House is the backdrop to a glimpse of Edinburgh winters past and present. Each day, a different â€˜doorâ€™ opens and a giant light projection unveils images from Edinburghâ€™s vast archive.
From the 1700s to 2017, thereâ€™s a snapshot of the years. Day 1 saw the Penguin Walk (1965), Day 7, the building of the Scott Monument (1841), Day 10, The Twelve Days of Yule (1780) and Day 18, the Rolling Stones and the Beatlesâ€¦
The concept of the Giant Advent Calendar has taken various forms over the last ten years: in 2007, Harrods created the worldâ€™s most expensive (Â£50,000) 4ft tall Christmas tree shape, made from burr elm and walnut, and with a Green & Blackâ€™s organic chocolate behind each door. Two years later, the Kings Square, Gloucester, was bedecked with a giant present, its doors opening on logos of local businesses. In London, St Pancras Station commemorated its refurbishment with one, and Convent Garden hosted a LEGO construct.
The Edinburgh calendar brings the idea to a whole new level. So, whether you cluster around the Bridges waiting for the daily shows, or are greeted to an unexpected view as you sit atop a passing bus, youâ€™ll be treated to an original, modern and spectacular light and sound experience.
Free. Projections between 5-10pm daily from 1-24 December
For more information, and to see the doors already opened:Â Giant Advent Calendar
Header photo courtsey of Jacqui Dunbar Photography & Edinburgh 1956, courtesy of Edinburgh Christmas.