Lyon Lights festival - Philippe DESTINE

France - Lyon.

In 1850, church leaders launched a competition for a statue to be realized as religious symbol at the top of the Fourvière hill.

One year later Lyonnais sculptor Fabisch won the competition, and the 8th September 1852 was chosen for the inauguration of his work. But in August the Saône overflowed its banks and flooded the worksite where the statue was to be sculpted

The inauguration was therefore postponed to the 8th December, the Festival of the Immaculate Conception. The same day, the newspapers announced the programme for the evening, and the entire city began readying for the event. A few people even decided to add lights to the facades of their residences with candles. But bad weather again caused church leaders to postpone the event, this time until the 12th December.

Despite this setback, the Lyonnais remained enthusiastic. Starting at 6pm, the first windows began to light up, and by 8pm the entire city was illuminated. A large part of the people went into the streets to celebrate, full of joy and moved by the strength and spontaneity of the community feeling.

The church leaders followed the celebrations, and the Chapel of Fourvière was lit up against the night sky. That evening saw the birth of a new festival! From that year on, each year on the 8th December the Lyonnais place small candles on their windows and head into the streets to enjoy the atmosphere.


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