La fête des lumiéres

12:11 pm home

On the 8th of December in Lyon, every house lights some candles and puts them in the window. Children decorate small glass pots for the occasion. And throughout the town there are spectacular light shows and art installations.

The Fête des Lumiéres is a Lyon tradition which has grown in the past few years to a weekend festival of light, both bigger and more accessible than Paris’s “Nuit blanche”.

The origins of the tradition are open to question. One version is that the city of Lyon is thanking the virgin Mary for saving Lyon from German bombs during the second world war (a nice contrast between the black-out and a city full of light). However, some people I know have told me that their grandparents put candles in the window as children, suggesting that the tradition predates 1945.

The festival has outgrown its religious origins to become an emblem of the city, and people now come from all over the world to take part.

Thomas had great fun painting and decorating his jars, and last night we went to see a light-show in Place des Terreaux. We got home well after his bed-time, but it was a real treat to see the glint in his eye at the end of the evening.

2 Responses

  1. Jean-François Rameau Says:

    Hi Dave,

    It is “lumières” not “lumiéres” :)

    Un GNOME Lyonnais.

  2. Aurelien Mino Says:

    Hi Dave,

    In fact the tradition predates 1945 and found its origin in 1852. A good summary is here (in french) :

    Un autre GNOME lyonnais.