December 8 is the festival of lights (la fête des lumières) here in Lyon. The city was spared an outbreak of the plague in 1643, and the inhabitants of Lyon pay tribute to the Virgin Mary for her protection. About a week before, there are posters in the streets and metro stations thanking Mary: “Merci, Marie.” On the night of December 8, everyone puts small candles in colored or plain glass candle holders outside the windows. For four nights, there are light shows in town and the basilica of Fourvière is lit up with colored lights.
I have kept all the candle holders my children made in kindergarden and grade school for this special event. These are my favorite ones to display, along with a few I’ve painted myself and some plain ones.
The city is crowded with people going to see the light displays and this year, although it’s snowing in Paris, the weather is mild here. Fine for a nighttime walk. I prefer to stay at home, candles in the windows. I’ve lit a second batch of candles, and they’ll burn for a few hours more. Until next year.