Spotlighting the Luminaria Ceremony
Over the course of the Luminaria Ceremony, attendees begin to refill the track and make special note of luminaria that circle the track.
In roughly 76 days, Acadia Parish will hold its annual Relay For Life event and with it will come the annual moving ceremony – the Luminaria Ceremony.
The Luminaria Ceremony occurs at every Relay For Life event across the world. The luminaria line the track, lighting up the area more and more as night falls.
Once the ceremony begins, a quiet falls over the crowd, the track lays empty until one-by-one people rejoin the Relay. Survivors, caregivers and all Relay For Life participants make their way back on the track and keep walking lap after lap.
The ceremony serves as a chance to not only remember those who have died from cancer but to honor those who have survived and continue to fight and the caregivers who help cancer survivors day in and day out.
It remains one of the most popular parts of Relay For Life of Acadia Parish.
“It, along with the survivors’ lap, are just awesome,” said Luminaria Chairperson Thelma Fuselier. “It’s a time to remember those lost and reconnect with them and to honor those who have survived and show your support, and not just family, but friends, neighbors and so on. It’s a real personal time.”
In all of these ways, Acadia Parish’s Luminaria Ceremony is no different. The track is cleared, the crowd is silent and only the only source of light are the luminaria that line the track.
An added touch by Acadia Parish has only helped the Luminaria Ceremony grow. Beginning in 2013, RFL-Acadia began selling not only the $10 luminaria and $100 torches known throughout all Relay For Life events, but also the $20 sky lanterns that were all released during the ceremony. Many were sold, allowing the night sky to become part of the ceremony as well.
“Both the lanterns and the luminaria are showings of hope,” said Fuselier.
Relay For Life of Acadia Parish will be held Saturday, May 10, at Crowley High School. Opening ceremonies will be held at 6 p.m. with the Luminaria Ceremony tentatively set for the 9 o’clock hour. The event will conclude at 6 a.m. Sunday, May 11.
Those looking to honor a cancer survivor, recognize a caregiver or remember someone who died from cancer can do so by contacting anyone involved with Relay For Life of Acadia Parish.
Anyone wanting to purchase a torch must do so by April 18. Luminaria can be purchased until 8 p.m. the night of, however, early purchases are encouraged. Lantern purchases are also encouraged to be done early so that preparations for lighting and releasing can be made.