Everyone remembers the childhood excitement of prising open doors on an advent calendar to count down the days to Christmas. But what of turning a whole village into an Advent Calendar? This is exactly what happens at Advent in Askrigg, in the Yorkshire Dales.
Each night, a new window is illuminated with a Christmas tableau, until, by Christmas, there are twenty four Advent scenes in Askrigg.
Organiser Liz Guy says, “You can get a trail guide from the village shop, and parents take children to seek each window.”
The idea for the windows came, says Liz, “From local artist Janet Rawlins. She ran a couple of demonstrations in the Church, showing us how we could make windows. But you can do anything – we don’t tell people what to do.”
The result is a pleasing variety of scenes and techniques. Memorable windows include one from a model railway enthusiast with a miniature train running along the window sill.
Another featured an intricate paper cut of Santa and his reindeer flying over a snowy landscape.
Another was a homely cardboard and cotton wool model of the village church, complete with parishioners walking up the path.
Many people make colourful ‘tissue paper stained glass’, an effective – and not too difficult – technique.
Viewers can get close to the windows because many of Askrigg’s buildings open straight onto the street, with no intervening gardens or yards. The tall stone buildings huddle together, as if for warmth, against the looming mass of the fells rising all around.
At night, there’s no orange glow in the sky from the street lights. You can distinguish the dark sky from the fell only from the stars in the sky.
So the warmth and fellowship of the village, embodied in its bright, colourful, windows, shines a welcome to all across the Dale.
Read more about Askrigg’s Advent windows in Countryside Magazine, December 2015.
Read more about advent windows and other village events in the Askrigg parish blog