Light up the Night

Join us for a candlelit event this October and November in memory or celebration of a loved one

Light up the Night has been created to give friends and family an opportunity for shared remembrance of loved ones past in a place of unique calm, peace, hope and community.

The idea is quite simple – you light a candle in memory or celebration of a loved one – however, the experience is quite moving. From early evening a graveyard, cemetery or similar is filled with candles and open for anybody to drop by and walk, linger, perhaps light a candle and contemplate family and friends, past and present.

Although inspired by the religious traditions of All Saints Day, All Souls Day and Day of the Dead from other parts of the world, particularly Eastern Europe and South America, this simple ceremony is open to anyone of any religious or non-religious persuasion.

We have 4 events taking place in 2021 –

30th October – All Saints Church, Clevedon, North Somerset, BS21 6AU

6th November – Birdcage Walk, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4EW

13th November – St Pauls Church, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 1AS

13th November – Bangor Cathedral, North Wales, LL57 1LH

The event on 30th October will take place between 5-8:30pm, all other events will take place between 4-8pm. We welcome everyone along on the night.

We are most grateful for the generous support that has made these events possible from:

  • Clevedon – Clevedon Hall, Clevedon Funeral Services, Wards Solicitors
  • Clifton – BIDCliftonVillage, DiscoverCliftonVillage
  • Bedminster – Wapping Wharf, Southville Deli, Bristol Travel, Thomas Davies Funeral Directors, Plaster Communications

You can make a donation on the night or in advance on the form below. If you are unable to attend but would like a candle to be lit in memory or celebration of someone, please make your donation below:

The first Light the Night took place November 2019 in St Paul’s, Bristol and you can watch this video which shows how atmospheric the event is…

In many countries, people remember deceased loved ones by visiting cemeteries and graveyards and decorating them with candles and flowers, creating a truly unique atmosphere of peace and calm – such as All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Day of the Dead etc.

The first event took place on Saturday, November 16th 2019 by lighting the graveyard of St Paul’s, Bedminster, with thousands of candles bought by us in advance and available to buy and light by anyone attending in remembrance of their loved ones. The simple aim was to create a beautiful, positive, inclusive and perhaps spiritual experience for religious and non-religious people.

On All Saints Day, it is common for families to attend church and celebrate and honour all saints, as well as visit cemeteries in order to lay flowers and candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. In the UK, it is known that churches were already celebrating All Saints on 1 November at the beginning of the 8th century.

All Souls’ Day follows All Saints’ Day in most countries and is widely used as day for remembering deceased relatives and loved ones. Although precise beliefs and practices associated with All Souls’ Day vary widely among churches and denominations, often candles are lit in memory.

Day of the Dead unfolds over two days of colour and life-affirming joy in Mexico and other central and south American countries. The point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. Celebrations vary but include decorating graves of loved ones with candles and flowers at the local cemetery.

If you have been fortunate to experience All Saints Day in Poland or Day of the Dead in Mexico, you will know that other cultures approach death a little differently than the UK. As Canon Nick Hay, priest-in-charge of St Paul’s in Bristol who hosted the first Light up the Night says, “Rituals are really important to people, but we don’t have many rituals about death in the UK. We’ve hidden death away, shoved it in the corner. This is something that people can access in a very easy way to maybe give thanks or remember – there’s not many spaces in our culture to do that.”

Visiting ancient churchyards and cemeteries in Eastern Europe lit up with thousands of candles in an atmosphere of calm community and respect has to be experienced to be understood. The scene is not simply beautiful – i.e. endless candles against the mysterious backdrop of beautiful old grave stones and church – it is more than that. There is a rare sense of community, respect and reflection in the air that is most uncommon in this turbulent world we live in. More, there was a sense perhaps of something spiritual which for many is significant as they may not necessarily be church-goers.

Light up the Night is not a religious event – or not necessarily. Whilst they are usually hosted in church grave yards and cemeteries we are keen that everyone and anyone of a religious or non-religious persuasion feels welcome to come and spend some time remembering loved ones and/or spending some time remembering and reflecting.

For some, Light up the Night will provide an alternative to Halloween which has perhaps become a bit of a commercial affair over the past couple of decades. It’s great that kids have such fun dressing up etc. but Light the Night is about something at the opposite end of the spectrum. That said, families are most welcome and in keeping with Polish traditions, there will – in addition to stalls to buy candles and flowers – also be sweet stalls.

We hope Light up the Night gives people a rare sense of calm and peace… and that all is good in the world, universe and perhaps beyond!