Elon celebrates the Festival of Holiday Lights with songs, seasonal cheer
The annual tradition offers an opportunity to mark the start of the holiday season as Elon's campus comes alive with holiday lights.
Hot chocolate and warm greetings helped counter the cold night on Thursday as members of the Elon community gathered on Scott Plaza to celebrate the season with the annual Festival of Holiday Lights.
Sponsored by the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, the festival featured 2,100 luminarias lining the walkways around the heart of Elon's campus to honor contributions from alumni and Class of 2018 donors. Throughout the day on Thursday, volunteers from the Truitt Center and the SGA set out the luminarias that stood out against the dark night.
The Festival of Holiday Lights, which has been held for nearly 30 years, drew together those on campus and joining in a celebration of the peace, love and joy of the season. Again this year the town of Elon partnered with the university by offering their own display of luminarias.
"Tonight, we take a stand for joy, for love, for unity, for light," said University Chaplain Jan Fuller. "We celebrate all the holy days and holidays that are yearnings for joy, family, fun and music."
Those gathered Thursday night were treated to the sounds of the season from campus musical groups Twisted Measure, the Elon Gospel Choir, Smooth Progressions and the Elon Trumpet Trio. Students, faculty, staff and community members enjoyed hot drinks and a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus as these musical groups shared holiday songs.
Max Pivonka '19, junior class president, emceed the festival and rallied the crowd to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to those watching the celebration online from afar. Throughout the evening, members of the Class of 2018 and alumni walked among the luminarias looking for their names on the side of the glowing lights.
For the past four years, the luminarias have offered a way to highlight the generosity of those who support Elon’s mission has been highlighted. The luminarias represent individuals who are lighting the way for the campus community through their gifts and donations.
With a pronouncement from Pivonka, the lights at the heart of Elon's campus began turning on, first at Moseley Center and then making their way to the crowd fill Scott Plaza.
"We are one tonight in the light and in joy," Fuller said.