The Lyon tradition of December 8
The wish of the aldermen
In 1643, the wishes of the Aldermen were pronounced in honor of the Virgin Mary. The aldermen of Lyons vowed to pay homage to the Virgin if the epidemic of plague ceased. The epidemic ceased and the people of Lyon kept their promise. Every September 8th (the day of the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin) since this date, is dedicated to the consecration of the city to the Virgin.
In 1850, the religious authorities of Lyon called French sculptors to design a statue in the image of Mary. Joseph Hugues Fabisch sculpted the work. For meteorological reasons, when the statue should have been inaugurated on September 8, 1852, the inauguration was postponed until December 8, the day of the feast of the immaculate conception.
The birth of the Festival of Lights
On December 8, 1852, the ceremony was again abandoned because of the rain. The Lyoners had already waited three months, lit candles on the windowsill in support of the organizers. Soon the whole city was illuminated. The Fourvière Cathedral was also lit in response to the Lyon. The statue was inaugurated and since each December 8, the people of Lyon celebrate the Festival of Lights.
The tradition is perpetuated through the ages. The candles are deposited on the windows on December 8 and the city is transformed. Browse the city of Lyon and admire the illuminations, the installations and the sound and light games that animate the city which becomes magical.