FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS (LYON)
Fête des lumières is celebrated to expresses
gratitude toward Mary, mother of Jesus on
December 8 of each year.
It dictates that every house place candles along the
outsides of all the windows to produce a
spectacular effect throughout the streets.
The festival includes activities based on light and
usually lasts 4 days, with the peak of activity
occurring on the 8th.
The two main focal points of activity are typically
the Basilica of Fourvière which is lit up in different
colours, and the Place des Terreaux, which hosts a
different light show each year.
The origins of the festival date to 1643 when Lyon
was struck by plague.
The municipal councillors (échevins) promised to
pay tribute to Mary if the town was spared. Ever
since, a solemn procession makes its way to the
Basilica of Fourvière on this day to light candles
and give offerings in the name of Mary.
The event thus commemorates the day Lyon was
consecrated to the Virgin Mary.
In 1852, it became a popular festival when a statue
of the Virgin Mary was erected next to the
Basilica, overlooking the city.
Gilded statue of the Virgin Mary, Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, Lyon
Thus, tradition now dictates that every family in Lyon
keep, along with its Christmas decorations, a
collection of stained or clear glass in which candles
are burnt on windowsills on 8 December.
The city's council puts on professionally-run
The people of Lyon's participation remains strong as
evidenced by numerous façades lit up in the
traditional way and by the throngs of people
wandering the streets on 8 December.
The fêtes de Bayonne is a feria consisting in a serie
of festivals in the Northern Basque Country in
the town of Bayonne, France.
The festivals last 5 days and always starts the
Wednesday before the first Sunday of August.
They are the largest festivals in France.
The festivals include musical and street
performances, traditional dances, parades, and
It begin on Wednesday evening when the keys to
the town are thrown from the Town Hall balcony to
the crowd massed below.
The town belongs to the 'festayres', dressed in in red
and white, for five days and nights of partying.
Everybody in red and white ! Saint Esprit bridge
during the fêtes de Bayonne
SOME OF THE EVENTS DURING THE
9h30 the Foulée du Festayre, a foot race from the Côte
des Basques in Biarritz
10h-11h30 : The Omelette aux Piments World
Championships at he market.
Is the children's day
Choco Yamboun (chocolate), Encierro Txiki (a bull run
for the kids with papiermache toros on wheels),
Games of pelote basque, course de vaches, concerts
The tamborrada or parade of massed drummers is noisy
and impressive, followed by the parachute descents into
town, the traditional course de vaches in the
afternoon, the evening carnival parade and concerts
around town in the night.
Is Pamplona Day (Bayonne's twin town)
The marching bands Mess at 11h at the Church of Saint
Andrew, corrida in the afternoon, fireworks at night.
Easter is celebrated in France much as it is
in America, with various religious
ceremonies commemorating the rebirth of
Jesus, and cultural customs having to do with
rabbits, chocolates and eggs.
On the Thursday before Good Friday, all church bells
in France are silenced in acknowledgement of Jesus'
death. In fun, children are told that the bell's chimes
have flown to Rome to see the Pope.
Easter morning, the bells ring out once again in
celebration of the Resurrection, declaring that Jesus is
alive again. In some villages, people kiss and
embraceone another when they hear the bells ring.
Easter morning is a happy time for children who wake
to look for colorfully decorated Easter eggs hidden in
their gardens, homes and playgrounds.
Parents tell their children the eggs were brought
from Rome(where the chimes had gone), and that
when the chimes returned they brought the eggs with
The French allot an extra vacation day for the Easter
The French take great pride and joy in their food, and
no village is without at least one or more
confiseries (candy shops).
Easter is the perfect time of year for master
chocolatiers to display and celebrate their delectable