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What is the Festival of Lights & Luminaries

The Festival of Lights and Luminaries is an Elon tradition and annual celebration of light. This year, 2,400 luminaries will be spread across the Historic, Under the Oaks, and across the Academic Pavilions. Hot chocolate and cider are provided to warm you up as you journey the lined pathways.


As you walk, explore a variety of interactive stations focusing on various religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions. These include, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Earth Traditions and Nature Spirituality, Islam, Spirit and Pride, Traditions and Religions of the African Diaspora, and Buddhism. Each station offers educational materials, giveaways, and focus on diverse expressions to celebrating light. Amidst and between these stations, please enjoy musical performances from students, faculty, and staff from acapella in Lindner Amphitheatre to a brass quartet outside of West Hall.


Don’t forget to stop by Winter Wonderland in the Academic Village to start your seasonal shopping. Winter Wonderland is a craft and cultural market sponsored by the World Languages and Cultures department at Elon University who are committed to engaging minds and inspiring leaders for the global good. Different language clubs and student organizations are excited to meet you.


Please note that not every student will have a luminary. We hope you will take photos when you find your name, but please leave behind the luminary so that all can enjoy the light it brings. We hope you enjoy the Festival of Lights and Luminaries. Thank you for celebrating with us.

Virtual Map

Campus Buildings

1. Caroline E Powell

2. Duke

3. Alamance

4. Mooney

5. Long

6. Whitley Auditorium

7. Carlton

8. Holt McEwen Building

9. Isabella Cannon Pavilion

10. Gray Pavilion

11. Numen Lumen Pavilion

12. Belk Pavilion

13. Spence Pavilion

14. Kenan Pavilion

15. Lindner Hall

16. Sklut Hillel Center

17. McEwen Dining Hall

18. Downtown Elon

19. Hook, Brannock, & Barney

20. Carolina

21. Smith

22. West

23. Virginia

24. Sloan

25. Schar Hall

26. Steers Pavilion
27. La Rose Commons

Other Stations

Educational Stations


Click on a station to learn more!


Spirit & Pride - Meditation Garden

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Listen to a podcast created by our amazing Spirit and Pride interns: Queer & Divine! Scan the Spotify code or click here.

Islam - Hook, Brannock, & Barney


Traditions & Religions of the African Diaspora - Phi Beta Kappa Commons

Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday, from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, celebrated by many people of the African diaspora. It is a time to reflect on your actions over the previous year in regard to supporting the diaspora and to renew your commitments for the following year. Kwanzaa includes seven days of practice; each day representing one of the seven principles of the Nguzo Saba. These principles focus on different aspects of uplifting and ensuring the wellness of the Black community. 

The Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education (the CREDE) has a mission to advance the conversation on student diversity education campus-wide and to develop intercultural competence while providing race and ethnicity related advocacy, services, and programs to faculty, staff and students, particularly those from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities. Learn more here!

The Principles of Kwanzaa

  1. Umoja (Unity): maintaining unity as a family, community, and race of people.

  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): defining, naming, and creating and speaking for ourselves.

  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): building and maintaining our community–solving problems together.

  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): building and maintaining retail stores and other businesses and to profit from these ventures.

  5. Nia (Purpose): work collectively to build communities that will restore the greatness of African people.

  6. Kuumba (Creativity): to find new, innovative ways to leave communities of African descent in more beautiful and beneficial ways than the community inherited.

  7. Imani (Faith): the belief in God, family, heritage, leaders, and others that will leave to the victory of Africans around the world.

For more information, click here.

Jewish Light - Snow Atrium


The station representing Judaism, sponsored by Hillel, relates to the Festival of Lights because in Judaism, light and hope has been portrayed for many years. Specifically, Hanukkah can be seen as the Festival of Lights because on each of the eight days a candle is lit to commemorate the miracle of light and victory. According to Jewish tradition, after the Maccabees' victory over the Greeks, there was only enough oil to burn for one day in the Temple. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days. Lighting the Hanukkah menorah commemorates that miracle. At our station we will have the voices of our Jewish student singers and a variety of festive treats. Come by to enjoy the Festival of Lights with us and learn more about Jewish Life here


Buddhist Light - Linder

Christmas - Behind Alamance


What is the significance of light through the lens of Christianity? This Festival of Lights, come and learn about Christianity, the meaning of Christmas, and light within the Christian faith. Come and see some crucial items that represent some of the best-known parts of the faith. All we want for Christmas is you!
You might find yourself bringing a piece of Christmas home with you! We will have a giveaway for the first 100 people!
Everything we have chosen at the table represents an important aspect of Christianity, especially during the Christmas season. We are happy to show you the representation of light.

To read the entire Christmas story, click here for part 1 and here for part 2!

To learn more about the symbolism of the star in the Christmas story, click here!

To learn more about Mary's role in the Christian faith, particularly the Catholic tradition, click here!


Earth Traditions & Nature Spirituality - Carolina

Falling anywhere between December 20th and December 23rd every year, Winter Solstice is an ancient source of spiritual and scientific significance. The exact moment of Winter Solstice corresponds with the instant the North Pole is aimed furthest away from the sun on the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth’s axis. This event occurs at the same moment in time for everyone on the planet regardless of geographical location. Marking the longest night and shortest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere, many ancient cultures view it as a time to acknowledge death and rebirth. Winter Solstice has historically marked days of “discovery”, like the day Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth in 1620, the day Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium in 1898, and the day of the first manned moon mission of Apollo 8 in 1968. What will this years’ Winter Solstice bring? To learn more about Winter Solstice click here and here.