Light. That seducer of moths. The ruiner of beers. That tanner of bodies. The thing that grows Corn Flakes. We are fans of light here in Spotahome. We have a large collection of LED lamps in the office and we’re always quite keen to expand it. You may not have such a collection, but you may well be in Lyon from December 5th-8th for the Fete Des Lumieres. This is how this great French city celebrates light in all of its forms.
Where does the Fête des Lumiêres come from?
The tradition of lighting up Lyon like Europe’s biggest outdoor disco started with honouring the Virgin Mary. The city is dedicated to her because it is believed that she saved Lyon from the plague. A statue of her watches over Lyon, so every 8th of December sees people putting candles in their windows, thus marking the start of Fête des Lumiêres. The idea is that you then wander the streets and take in the newly illuminated sights. If you are the type of person that normally leaves the house and can never remember if you left the light on or not, and so you have to go back and check, don’t worry because on December 8th you can leave the house AND leave the light on. Just don’t forget to turn the oven off. And bring your keys. And don’t leave Macaulay Culkin home alone.
Today, the Fête des Lumiêres has morphed into one of the world’s most creative light shows and it has extended its range of events, with open air performances and poetry readings being examples of what is on offer. It is seen as an open air laboratory for new, emerging artists, though it is primarily a way to show off the architectural splendour of Lyon, something that is spilling over into other parts of the year as the city wants to highlight beautiful building over a longer period of time, and not just in December. The lighting is so imaginative, it’s no wonder that the Fête des Lumiêres attracts 3-4 million people a year.
The event also has a social conscious as people can help raise money for charity, helping organizations such as UNICEF. They also help renovate the old parts of town, and the festivity simultaneously pushes the message that energy should not be wasted. Come on people, use energy saving lightbulbs!
Fête des Lumiêres: A Sober Reflection in 2015
The 2015 celebrations will be different from other years. A statement from the organizers revealed that:
The City of Lyon has thus decided to move this year’s program, which is most promising, up to December 2016. This year, the Festival of Lights will become a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris. The tribute is scheduled for December 8. On that day, the people of Lyon are requested to illuminate the city by placing lumignon candles in their windows. These candles will also be present on the Incity Tower and the “Pencil” building in the Part-Dieu district through scenographies that will be specially designed for the occasion.
Daniel Knipper will be exhibiting his work, entitled Regards, a photographic series that honours the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks. The city is trying to raise money for the victims of those attacks by selling 200,000 candles.
The light show of Fête des Lumiêres will have an effect on you. Under normal circumstances, you would be enchanted by the buildings and people lit up artistically. This year, you can moved by a city honouring its identity and not giving in to the dark forces that seek to disrupt our way of life On December 8th, let us all celebrate the beauty of a city that will shine for centuries to come.
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