Festival of Lights features song, dance and prayers for peace
By Shay Hearn ’16
With the winter holidays quickly approaching, Salve Regina is preparing to host the 11th annual Festival of Lights. This tradition incorporates song, dance and prayers for peace in a celebration to unite the University community and the many varying religions that make up the city of Newport.
Salve Regina invites students, faculty, staff and the general public to Ochre Court at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 in order to continue sharing the joy with each other at this festive event.
Katherine and Christopher Carbone, sacred movement and music artists, will lead participants in celebration. The prayers, songs and dances will give us the opportunity to reflect on peace and to “gain inspiration to be peacemakers,” says Anna Mae Mayer, director of the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life. “We light candles to remind ourselves that it is our mission to shed the light of peace in a world where the darkness of violence and war still oppresses so many people.”
The tradition of the Festival of Lights began in Japan in 1955. The mission was to spread the message of peace to the world in response to the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This year, the celebration is dedicated to the children of the world, in particular Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for the education for all children. Yousafzai is a young girl who braved the violence of the Taliban in order to stand up for her passion for education – a strong voice who survived a frightening situation.
A celebration welcoming all religious affiliations, the Festival of Lights is an event sponsored and coordinated by the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life. “The interfaith festival welcomes people of all beliefs and traditions, uniting in the common bond of peace,” says Matthew Kelly, campus minister. The celebration welcomes all creeds to light a candle as a gesture towards world peace during this season filled with holiday celebration.