Shedding light on birds' tale

Les Pikooks - an installation by firm Porte par le Vent - is a shining example of the attractions at the Fetes des Lumieres, or Festival of Lights, in Lyon, France.

The four-day festival, which opened yesterday, has more than 50 installations by different artists lighting up the city's buildings, streets and parks.

Les Pikooks tells the story of a pair of snowy owls waiting for their chicks to hatch.

The performance begins with the birds - crafted from kites - dancing above their nest containing three eggs.

Red lights pulsate inside the shells to denote the tiny hearts beating. As the birds slowly descend, the lights assume warmer, orange hues, adding to the air of anticipation as spectators wait to see what happens next.

Creative designs like these are part of the reason millions visit the Fetes des Lumieres every year.

The displays and light shows are also a celebration of Lyon's history.

Lighting the city during winter is part of traditions that date back to Dec 8, 1852, when planned festivities linked to the installation of a statue of Virgin Mary were abandoned when a violent storm broke out. But, as the weather improved later in the night, residents are said to have lit their homes with candles, a ritual that continues today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2017, with the headline 'Shedding light on birds' tale'. Print Edition | Subscribe