Legend has it that in 1852 the end of a serious plague epidemic in Lyon was celebrated with a feast in honour of the Virgin Mary. Storms and floods prevented the celebrations planned for 8 September. These were made up on 8 December – illuminated by candlelight in all windows of the city.
Since then every year is celebrated with lanterns and candles. As early as 1989, Lyon became the first European city to offer a big stage with a festival of light art. From the 6th to the 9th of December, the city will again offer numerous events. International artists show their installations on the theme of light, and the most important buildings in Lyon are illuminated in bright colours. The spectacular large-scale projections with coloured light and images have also influenced other cities and events, such as the Luminale in Frankfurt.
The inhabitants of Lyon, however, still place candles on their windows and balconies in memory of the original tradition of 8 December.