The celebration, known as the Festival of Lights in English, means that many of the main façades in France’s third-largest city become awashed in colourful light shows while the inhabitants line the outside of their windows with candles and tea lights.
The festival was born out of pure coincidence in 1852 when the Lyonnais were set to cap the annual September 8 tribute to Virgin Mary for saving the city from the plague in 1643 by inaugurating a statue of the virgin at the basilica of Fourière.
A flooding of the Saône river, however, forced organisers to push back the date to December 8. On the day of the long-anticipated inauguration a storm raged through the city, prompting the Lyonnais to spontaneously place candles in their windows and light up the city.
Since 1999, it has become a four-day celebration and involves some 80 façade light projects and millions of candles.