How many people does it take to change someone’s life? The answer could be one. Or twenty. Or four-hundred and fifty. However many people one could choose to nominate as “Bright Lights” in honor of Endicott’s annual Festival of Lights.
On Thursday, December 6, Endicott College hosted the Festival of Lights in the Interfaith Chapel, an event held every holiday season to honor and celebrate the many different faiths that make up Endicott’s community. Recently, a new tradition has been added in which members of the Endicott community were asked via email to nominate someone in their life as a “Bright Light”. A Bright Light is someone who lights up one’s life, helping to guide through the many shadows that life can cast.
Even though the number of Bright Lights is entirely dependent on voluntary nominations, the number of nominations continues to climb each year. With previous years boasting around two-hundred or three-hundred “Lights” in attendance, 2019 raked in a strong number of about four-hundred and fifty nominees.
Those who were nominated were invited to the Interfaith Chapel, where they witnessed the literal lighting of various religious candles. Candles representing Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah were all lit, each one complimented by a spoken cultural piece. Endicott’s singers, including the more religious Constellation subsect, also gave a powerful performance for those in attendance.
Following this process, Endicott’s Reverend Gail Cantor took the time to honor those who had been nominated, which included students and faculty. Choosing one staff member and one student of special importance to her, Reverend Cantor gave each a candle to represent all who had been nominated from each group. Afterwards, nominees were each presented with a gift, as well as a diverse spread of food to celebrate.
The chapel’s lobby was also showcased a variety of decorated holiday trees, each designed and represented by a different club at Endicott. This is a brand new opportunity for Clubs and Orgs, with nine clubs volunteering to decorate. Endicott’s Equestrian team also claimed a tree, fitting right in amongst the other clubs.
As someone who has run the Festival of Lights and other Spiritual Life events, Reverend Cantor reflected on the most enlightening aspect in being a part of the festival. “The most enlightening aspect is recognizing the extraordinary, amazing special sense of community that so many people feel a part of at Endicott College” stated Cantor. “In a time when there is so much division and adversity, the love and appreciation we have for each other is so uplifting”.
In addition to embracing the holiday season, Endicott’s Festival of Lights serves as a valid reminder to appreciate and recognize those who brighten the lives of others.