Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Light Up Your Holidays with Drive-Through Luminary Magic

Due to inclement weather, the Annual Luminary event scheduled for Sunday, December 17th is canceled. We are sorry for the inconvenience, and hope to see you next year!

The Williamsburg Memorial Park invites the community to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season for a special evening of tranquility and reflection. The 2023 Annual Holiday Luminary event is on Sun., Dec. 17, 2023, from 5 to 8 p.m. People are invited to drive through the serene park, a final resting place to many citizens.

Led by the gentle glow of 2,000 luminaries, the circular route winds along the peaceful, beautifully tended lawns. Each luminary symbolizes the light of remembrance and hope. The glimmering candlelight creates a special, contemplative atmosphere allowing participants to pay respects to the departed.

Community ties

This free, festive, family friendly event lets participants enjoy the experience from the comfort of their cars. Started in the early 2000s, the Annual Holiday Luminary continues to become a part of the holidays for people of all ages.

Leading up to the communal event, members of Cub Scouts Troop 414 along with their scout leaders and families carefully prepare, place and light all 2,000 luminaries.

As the sun sets, the inviting glow of the luminaries warms up the night. Upon entering the park, visitors will be greeted by park staff directed to follow lighted signs along the route. For an optimal experience, drivers are requested to dim their car lights. Visitors are encouraged to select an appropriate music station to listen to during their journey around the park.

“The Annual Holiday Luminary is a once-a-year night of light here at Williamsburg Memorial Park casting a radiant glow on the tapestry of our community. We are grateful our community treasures this event,” says Jacqueline Martin, General Manager of Williamsburg Memorial Park.

Dating back to the 16th century

Luminaries have a long history of capturing the human spirit. According to the National Park Service, the tradition of lighting the way may have originated in 1590 in the Rio Grande Valley when small bonfires were lit by Gaspar Castano de Sosa’s men to guide a scout back to their camp. Pueblos picked up the luminaria tradition during Spanish colonization, including torchlit processions and the performance of traditional dances on Christmas Eve. In the 19th century, with the development of flat-bottom paper bags, luminaries evolved to the sand and candle-based luminaries still enjoyed today. Particularly popular in the southwestern U.S., luminaries light up the holiday season to symbolically guide the Holy Family on their journey during Las Posadas.

Holiday floral arrangements

Williamsburg Memorial Park offers a selection of quality, floral arrangements. As a convenience, staff will place arrangements purchased from the park office. For those interested in purchasing one for the holiday season, particularly ahead of the event, they are encouraged to visit the Williamsburg Memorial Park office or call (757) 565-2006.

For the love of community

Unlike other memorial parks, the Williamsburg Memorial Park is not owned by a large corporation. Instead, it is a nonprofit, community cemetery operated by a small staff of dedicated professionals. Events such as the Annual Holiday Luminary draw in area residents and keep them connected to those who interred at the park.

Located at 130 King William Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23188, learn more at WilliamsburgMemorialPark.com or by calling (757) 565-2006.

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