A light that shines in the darkness to protect and alert. Sounds like something one would say about that friend or mentor whom helps us in the hardest of times, but alas, this is not that reference. This is a reference to the silent, but bright, guardians of our coastlines and ships, the majestic lighthouse.
History of Lighthouse Day
The lighthouse has been a staple of culture in the world since we built boats to sail the seas. Protection from fog, reefs, rocks and other hazards of the coastline have been signaled by these monoliths of light, even before the advent of electricity. Surprisingly, large fires were lit in the top of the early lighthouses, so ship captains knew not to sail to close to them in order to avoid dangers to their ships.
Some even used early forms of light refraction to make the light spread farther out to see – mirrors were used in some cases, but in many it was actually metal polished to a shine that was used as mirrors were not as easily come by as they are today.
Electricity and the light bulb paved the way for current lighthouses – the rotating beam of light that is done with some creative positioning of mirrors, glass and a motor to spin a curved mirror in a circle around the light bulb. This effect channels the light outwards in a beam, rotating around and around to catch the eye, and help the light pierce the fog.
How to celebrate Lighthouse Day
Go and see a lighthouse or two. Visit and see about understanding what the lighthouse specifically protected against – was it just fog and to alert captains of land close by, or are there rocks in shallow water, reefs of danger just beneath the soft waves, or maybe a more disastrous effect, like whirlpools or cliff edges instead of a port?
Sometimes a lighthouse existed both as a ship warning and a guard post from when local militia and army forces were stationed to defend against coastal attackers. Or if your not near any lighthouses, share pictures you find enjoyable of lighthouses to those nearby or over social media.
Enlighten them on what a lighthouse does if they want to know. Or maybe build a miniature lighthouse all your own, setting it up high in a room so the light spirals around in the same effect. This little adventure into modeling can spark conversations for years to come, and is something that may just bring you one step closer to being the master of a lighthouse yourself some day.