Lighting up Devonshire this Christmas
Every December Edmund Faria digs out boxes and boxes of Christmas from a back room in his house.
Out come Santas, stars, the reindeer and nativity figures.
Decorating has been his hobby since he moved to Bermuda from the Azores in 1959.
“Back then, it wasn’t common to light up your house in the Azores,” said the 82-year-old.
But he jumped right on the tradition here.
“I love the lights the most,” he said.
“I used to win lots of prizes in the Festival of Lights Competition put on by Belco and BFM.
“First prize was $1,000, second prize was $750 and third prize was $500. I always donated my winnings to the St Vincent de Paul Society at St Theresa’s Cathedral. They help the poor.”
He was disappointed when the competition ended in 2008, but did not let it stop him from making his Devonshire home look pretty.
“It was never really about the competition anyway,” said Mr Faria, putting his hand over his heart.
“I do it because I love the season. I love Christmas.”
Now that he is getting on in age, it takes a little longer than it used to for him to get everything to look just the way he wants.
“I can’t step too good anymore,” he said.
“But it still looks nice. It takes me about two weeks to get everything set up.”
He does it by himself because his three children — Anna Faria-Machado, Manny and Daniel Faria — have their own homes to decorate.
“Sometimes my four grandchildren ask to help,” he said. “They love the lights.”
Bad weather has destroyed everything on certain occasions.
“You never know, but so far so good this year,” he said.
He tries to switch things up, changing colours and adding new decorations each Christmas. He shrugs when asked just how many decorations he has.
“A lot,” he said.
For many years he worked for the City of Hamilton and was in charge of making the streets look festive.
“I loved doing that,” he said.
He retired from the corporation in 2007, after 49 years.
In addition to his decorations outside, he and his wife also decorate inside their home extensively; a miniature Christmas village sits in their living room.
This year, he plans to spend Christmas as he always does, with family.
“First we go to church, and then the grandchildren come back to our house to open gifts,” he said. “This is a special year because my wife Maria and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on October 5.”