With over 2,400 luminaries lining the sidewalks of campus, finding a light with a specific name on it can become somewhat of a scavenger hunt, but the search is all part of the Festival of Lights and Luminaries tradition. The Elon community voted the event this year’s “Best Tradition.”

Organized by the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, live music, vendors and food round out the event. The tradition began in 1984, and according to University Chaplain Rev. Kirstin Boswell, the fall 2021 celebration was the largest to date.

“It was really special to me to see people interacting with all the different stations that represented the religious, spiritual, cultural, ideological diversity that exists not just here on campus, but within a larger world,” Boswell said.

This year was Boswell’s first time facilitating the event, and she said the support from different colleagues and offices around campus made the evening run smoothly.

Senior Ellen Fiedler has worked with the event since her freshman year and said that, in her experience, no year has ever been the same. This year’s celebration kept the pandemic format because of how well it was received.

“The festival is in very good hands for the future. I have a strong emotional attachment to this Elon tradition and it's hard to let that go, but I know that the event will just continue to improve year after year,” Fiedler said.

Engaging in spiritual growth is the goal for the festival each year, and Fiedler said she loves watching people realize how the many religious, spiritual and secular traditions and world views are connected by the common theme of light.

“It's one of those rare times where you can't really tell who holds what role in the Elon community, and it doesn't really matter, we're all just there together,” Fiedler said.