Festival of Holiday Lights celebrates the season

Hundreds of members of the Elon University community gathered on Dec. 2 to celebrate the winter season, sing carols and witness the illumination of hundreds of holiday lights.

<p>Faculty, staff and community members filled Scott Plaza for the annual Festival of Holiday Lights. The Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life sponsored the evening.</p>
Elon University ushered in the 2013 winter season on Monday evening with its Festival of Holiday Lights. The annual tradition brought together in the heart of campus hundreds of students, professors, staff and community members to revel in the warmth of candles and tree lights.

Sponsored by the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, the program included singing of Christmas carols, the lighting of the Menorah to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hannukah, recognition of multiple faith traditions and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus for the young at heart in the crowd, including throngs of students who surrounded the pair for photos.

Visitors were also encouraged to use the #ElonLight hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to share photos and comments. Search for the hashtag on both platforms for additional images of the evening. You can also view videos and a photo gallery.

<p>A pair of special guests – Santa and Mrs. Claus – made an appearance at the festival and spent time taking pictures with the young and the young at heart.</p>
Students experiencing the event for the first time as well as those who have made a point to attend year after year were in good spirits. They spoke about how it’s an Elon tradition they’ll always remember. Here’s what they said:

“I think it’s the coolest event we have here on campus, hands down. … It’s just something that everyone comes out to because they want to feel good, they want to get to have that community spirit that I think you can only find at Elon.” – Asher Weinstein, junior.

“It’s just the coolest thing to look at. … It’s one of the things I look forward to getting to see each year. It’s just a marvelous sight [and] there’s nothing else like it. This is a great way to unwind a little bit before finals. I get to relax and just really not worry about anything for a little bit.” – Thomas Lampl, junior.

<p>Hundreds of luminaries lined the paths along Young Commons and Scott Plaza.</p>
“I love luminaries. It’s one of my favorite Elon traditions. Just getting to come out here with all my friends and getting to see our campus even more beautifully lit up for the holidays – especially with the inclusion of all the different holidays that go on – is one thing that’s really great about this time.” – Jennifer Sekulow, junior.

“It’s really sad that this is my last year of luminaries because it’s something special that only Elon students do and it’s something that I’ve enjoyed every year I’ve been here. … Everyone’s just really happy to take a break from exam studying and just have a good time and drink hot cider.” – Madeline Carlin, senior.

“It’s sort of like a unification of all the different holidays of different religions. I think it’s very great to bring people together of different cultures. … It does sort of usher you into the spirit of the holidays.” – John Crowder, sophomore.

<p>Elon senior Mason Sklut was among the Jewish students who helped light a menorah during the Festival of Holiday Lights celebration.</p>
“What I really enjoy is the students coming together and it’s a social event for me. When I see light, I see peace and I see love. … It makes me feel home, it makes me feel loved and it makes me feel calm and secure. I love Elon and I always will.” – Toorialey Fazly, senior.

“It shows that Judaism has a light in all places of the world, even at Elon. … We get to light a menorah and show people that Judaism is still strong and it still exists. I think it’s really nice that Elon allows different religions to participate.” – Mason Sklut, senior.



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