Complete silence. A few tears, heartaches, and triumphs.
The luminary ceremonies at the Relay for Life can be a source of a wealth of emotion.
It can be a moment of pride, as those who beat cancer can reflect on their journey. But it can also bring up a sense of sadness and grief, as those who lost their battle are remembered.
Cancer affects almost everyone in one way or anyother. We all know someone who’s had the disease, battled the disease, beat the disease, or has stood by a loved one during their journey with cancer. All of these journeys and stories are remembered with the lighting of the luminaries.
Holly Mitchell is the luminary chair for the planning committee of the East Hants Relay for Life. She explained that the ceremony came from humble beginnings.
“As this ‘first’ Relay as we know it was getting started, volunteers noticed at some point during setup that the lights they had planned to use were not working. It took one volunteer to suggest that they line the track with luminary bags,” she said of the beginning of a practice that developed into a relay staple. “The committee scrambled to ensure they had enough supplies, and were able to line the track with the lit luminaries that evening.”
And that small change gave way to a completely different feeling to their whole relay.
“The glowing candles completely changed the entire atmosphere of the event, and over the next few years other Relay events began to add it as a special ceremony to honour cancer survivors and those that lost their battle. This luminary ceremony has become a hallmark of Relay events around the world today,” said Mitchell.
Cancer is a disease that never rests. Because of this, the luminaries stay lit at the relay throughout the whole event. When people get tired, lack motivation during the overnight event, Mitchell said the luminaries act as a pick-me-up for participants.
“Luminaries are how we remember cancer survivors and those that have lost their battle with the disease,” she said.
“The luminary ceremony, which takes place at twilight, is a way for participants to honour cancer survivors and remember loved ones lost to the disease. Relay For Life is an overnight event for a very specific reason- cancer never...