University celebrates the 20th annual Festival of Lights
During this time of the year as the days become shorter and darker, many religions take time to celebrate light — and celebrations such as Diwali, Advent and Hanukkah include lighting of candles and emphasizing light in the darkness.
Salve Regina also has a longstanding tradition of honoring these rituals with the annual Festival of Lights, which will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. in Ochre Court. The festival is free and open to both the Salve Regina community and the public, and there is no registration required.
Salve Regina’s Festival of Lights will commence with the lighting of a universal peace candle, followed by a menorah, an advent wreath, Diwali diyas and a fanoos. The festival includes readings, songs, prayers and dances from many different spiritual traditions. An “all chocolate” reception of hot chocolate, truffles, coffee, tea and treats will follow the festival.
The Festival of Lights has been a Salve Regina tradition since 2001. In 2020, the festival was cancelled due to the pandemic, making this Salve Regina’s 20th celebration of the Festival of Lights.
“We would love to see people attend this year’s Festival of Lights as we mark 20 years of this celebration,” said Matthew Kelly, campus minister of music, liturgy and multifaith programming. “Coming together as a community to celebrate religious diversity speaks to Salve’s mission to create a world that is harmonious, just and merciful.”
In keeping with the University’s mercy heritage, this year’s Festival of Lights is themed “Carrying the Light of Mercy,” placing emphasis on mercy across global faith traditions, according to Kelly.
“Salve continues to promote inclusivity and belonging, celebrate religious and spiritual diversity, and accommodate the practices of religiously diverse students,” said Kelly. “With the festival highlighting spiritual and religious diversity while showing how the common thread of mercy intertwines and connects us all, we hope it will be a profound experience for those in attendance.”
In addition to current students, Salve Regina alumni are being invited to participate as readers in the ceremony. Katherine and Christopher Carbone, professors in the holistic and mental health counseling graduate program, will also join the event as they offer sacred music and dance.
The Festival of Lights is a time for the Salve Regina community to gather, pray for the needs of the world and hope for brighter days to come. Please join Salve Regina as the University welcomes light and mercy into the world this holiday season. The festival is free and open to the public, and there is no registration required.
Featured photo is from a Festival of Lights in 2021.