The World’s Best Christmas Light Displays [PHOTOS]

  @ibtimes on December 13 2011 4:44 PM

From elegant illuminated bridges in Slovenia to adorned reindeer in Singapore, it's clear that Christmas lights have taken on a life of their own.

The use of Christmas lights can be traced back as far as the early 17th century when candles were attached to tree branches with wax or pins. The electronic lights used today, of course, begin with Thomas Edison, who invented the modern light bulb in 1880. In fact, Edison was known to string bulbs around his laboratory as decoration.

The first true electronic Christmas lights were introduced by Edison's business partner Edward H. Johnson in 1882. Johnson hung 80 red, white, and blue bulbs around a Christmas tree and displayed it at his home in New York City.

In 1900, General Electric presented the first known advertisement for Christmas lights. However at the time, Christmas tree lights were so expensive that they were also available to rent for the season. Flash-forward 25 years and lights are flying off the shelf with more than 15 companies producing them at much more affordable prices.

The marvelous and sometimes tacky tradition has gripped hold of city squares throughout the world. Scroll down to view a collection of some of the best public light displays this holiday season.

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People walk past bridges illuminated with Christmas lights in Ljubljana's old city in Slovenia. Reuters

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A view of a bridge illuminated with Christmas lights is reflected on the water in Ljubljana's old city. Reuters

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Fireworks light up the night sky near a giant Christmas Tree display along a bay walk in Puerto Princesa, Palawan city, west of Manila. The Philippines, a mainly Roman Catholic country in Southeast Asia, celebrates one of the longest Christmas holiday in the world, playing Christmas carols in shopping malls as early as in September and putting up lantern and fireworks displays early in December. Reuters

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Christmas lights in the shape of the Eiffel Tower shine near the Eiffel Tower (in the background) on the Rue Saint Charles in Paris, France. Reuters

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Fireworks explode around a Christmas tree during its lighting ceremony at Rodrigo de Freitas Lake in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Reuters

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A decorated Christmas tree is lighted up at a Christmas market on its opening day in Dortmund, Germany. The Christmas tree of Dortmund is the largest in the world and is built with a scaffold, covered with 1,700 Norway spruces, 40,000 lights and is 45m (148 ft) high. Reuters

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The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is seen during its lighting ceremony in New York City. The event is the 79th lighting of the tree, which measures 74 feet (23 meters) tall and 46 feet (14 meters) wide and weights 10 tons. It is a 75 year-old Norway Spruce adorned with approximately 30,000 Christmas lights. Reuters

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