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.
ILLUMINATION, TECHNOLOGY AND WONDER
The light plan
In 1989 the city of Lyon, under the leadership of Michel Noir, set up the Plan Lumière. This political, technical and artistic approach is part of a reflection on the evolution of functional lighting. From year to year, more and more important events have been proposed by the municipality, by artists and professionals of the show. Initially concentrated on the city center, the animations have gradually spread throughout the city.
The people's festival
The festival has since become a tourist attraction attracting millions of visitors from all over the world to admire the illuminations of Lyon. International artists and creators participate in the event by proposing illuminations every year that constantly exceed technological standards, making Lyon one of the most innovative cities in France. Throughout the city, innovative scenographies and lighting shows are being set up. The traditional torch-lit climb to the Fourviere Basilica, offers history and religion enthusiasts unique emotions. Each year, the illuminations change and each time has a magical and captivating unique character.
The Lyon Festival of Light is one of the four biggest festive gatherings in the world and is a showcase for contemporary arts, visual arts, technological innovations and music.
Activities throughout Lyon
Enjoy the illumination of Lyon ...
Source of inspiration and creation throughout the world, the illuminations of December 8 have become a real vector of Lyon's art of living, the cultural dynamics of Lyon and its place in technological and architectural progress.
Witness the Fireworks on the night of December 8th. Celebrate the religious mass in the heart of the Fourvière basilica, take part in the Flambeaux (torch) procession from the Saint Jean Primatiale. Visit Place Bellecour and enjoy the Ferris wheel to see the whole city under the lights. Head to the Place des Terreaux and witness a unique moment with a gigantic sound and light on the facades of the Museum of Fine Arts and City Hall. In the garden of the Museum of Fine Arts, listen to a unique musical project with more than fifty professional and amateur pianists. In the heart of the abbey, the show will evolve according to the melody and harmonies played.
Go down along the banks of the Rhône to enjoy a good mulled wine and chestnuts just out of the embers. Contemplate artistic creations at Confluence and the unique cobbled streets of the Vieux-Lyon (Old Lyon).
Live unique evenings lulled by wonders and magic under the illuminations of Lyon.