One of the things that a lot of Northern Hemisphere midwinter festivals have in common is light. At this time of the year the days are getting shorter and many festivals are centred on the midwinter solstice - longest night. So it stands to reason that light in some form or another, candles, bonfires, etc, are included in the festivities.
- In Hindu celebrations there is Diwali - the festival of lights - where small oil lamps are lit to represent the triumph of good over evil.
- The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah involves lighting a nine-branched candlestick called a menorah.
- Norse religions included the Yule log.
- Icelanders light bonfires to mark Twelfth Night.
- Christmas trees have lights on.