“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

~ Chinese Proverb

Planning a Candlelight Vigil

A candlelight vigil is an event where people gather to light candles, pray, and show their support in remembrance of someone who has passed away.

Steps for Planning a Candlelight Vigil

ASK FOR HELP: Find people willing to help set up and plan. Ask family members, friends, and co-workers. A vigil is pretty easy to organize, but it is always good to have some help.

PICK A TIME AND LOCATION: It is best to hold the vigil after sunset, but not too late so all participants can attend. Try to find a safe location that is easy to find for the participants. Try to have an indoor option as a backup plan for poor weather (perhaps a school, community hall, or church).

SPEAKERS: For a smooth event, one person should be the main speaker or MC. This person can address the crowd and introduce any other speakers present, such as the Elder, who will provide the opening and closing prayer for the event. You can ask some speakers to share their experiences, read poetry, or say prayers.

CANDLES: You will need to have a good supply of candles on hand for the participants. If you are short on funds, ask participants to bring candles, so you will not have to supply as many. For a large turnout, order or buy your candles in advance so that you have time to get more if you need to.

SPREAD THE WORD: You can advertise your vigil by posting flyers in your community, contacting local media, or posting on social media. Word of mouth is also a good way of letting people know.

THE EVENT: You could begin with an open prayer, followed by speeches and readings if you like. Next, you could have the lighting the candles, followed by a moment of silence. Then you could have the sharing of memories, some poetry readings, or the singing of songs or hymns. At the end of the event, you can ask an Elder or family member to close the event with a prayer and then have the MC thank everyone for attending.