This article contains spoilers through Lord of Chaos.
Marking the final day of one year and the inaugural day of the next, the Feast of Lights is a two-day celebration that signals festivity, charity, and renewal. The first day of the Feast of Lights takes place on the 28th of Danu, which is simultaneously the shortest and the last day of the year in Randland; it roughly corresponds to the 22nd of December, near to our own Winter Solstice. The second day, also called First Day by some as it marks the 1st Taisham and the beginning of a new year, is “considered a time for charitable giving” (Companion).
Although The Wheel of Time Companion and The World of Robert Jordan’s ‘The Wheel of Time’ list a number of holidays, feast days, and festivals that we never get a chance to experience during the series, the Feast of Lights is one that we do get a glimpse of—not just once, but twice, in two different cities. In New Spring, Moiraine describes how “every window in Tar Valon shone brightly from twilight till dawn” with candles and lamps, even unused rooms in the White Tower, while “processions of citizens carr[ied] lamps through the night-cloaked streets” and attended “merry gatherings that frequently lasted until sunrise in even the poorest homes” (NS, Ch. 14). We see the Feast of Lights again in Lord of Chaos, where Perrin is surprised that the Cairhienin “celebrated in ways [he] could never have imagined” with dancing and music and abandon, all in complete counterpoint to their usual reservation (LoC, Ch. 53).
Three major events are noted to have occurred within Randland on or around the Feast of Lights—and all of them, significantly, have to do with False Dragons or with the Dragon Reborn himself. Late in the year 336 AB, some three hundred years after the end of the Breaking, the False Dragon Raolin Darksbane was killed shortly before the Feast of Lights; his death was supposedly in time to make that year’s festival “‘the most joyous for the world in many years” (Companion). Over a thousand years later, in the year FY 351, the False Dragon Davian is said to have “declared himself on the second day of the Feast of Lights, the first day of the year FY 351, and was allegedly killed on the first day of the Feast of Lights, the last day of FY 351” (Companion). Both deaths speak to ideas of renewal: a world free from the conquests of Raolin Darksbane at a time of year when light and the length of day would shortly begin to increase, and a year-long reign of war and terror by Davian that began on the shortest day of the year and ended, as with Darksbane, on a day that signals new life and hope.
Finally, in the closing days of 999 NE, approximately eighteen hundred years after the fall of Davian, Rand is captured by Elaida’s embassy in Cairhien; it is during the Feast of Lights that Perrin sets out in search of him. One week later, on the 8th of Taisham, Rand is freed and the Aes Sedai swear fealty to him. Although this event does not gesture towards renewal in the same way as the events surrounding Raolin Darksbane and Davian, it certainly marks a new beginning to the relationship between the White Tower and the Dragon Reborn—one that changes the world in many ways.