Festival of Lights

Date: 31st December 2020 to 31st December 2020

The Festival of Lights, hosted by the Bethesda Arts Centre

Each year, on New Year’s Eve (Ou Jaars Aand  in Afrikaans) we hold the Festival of Lights at the Bethesda Arts Centre. This festival is a joyful celebration, as hundreds of candle-lit lanterns wind up the hill from the Arts Centre and through the village.

But it has a special meaning for us as well. For many people, the coming of the new year is a time for making changes in our lives, for throwing away old bad habits, and bringing in new, better ones. Most people make New Year Resolutions such as – “Starting from the new year, I’ll exercise every day, I’ll eat better food, I’ll be on time every day, I’ll work harder ….” The lights we carry in our Festival of Lights symbolise our hopes and intentions to start afresh in the New Year, and through our efforts, to bring light into the world.There is so much darkness in our world – so much unnecessary suffering.

In Nieu Bethesda one of the hardest things we face is the alcoholism. Alcohol brings great suffering to our people.  And in Nieu Bethesda, as in most places in the world, the excessive drinking of alcohol reaches its worst on New Year’s Eve. We started the Festival of Lights as a way of creating another way of bringing in the New Year at the Arts Centre.  For the adults, the money wasted on alcohol could be so much better spent on other things, and the abuse, misery, and neglect that often result from excessive drinking can be avoided. For children of alcoholic parents, the New Year is a time of fear and misery.For weeks we prepare. We make lanterns, and help our guests to make their own lanterns.  We create a performance, and prepare an alcohol-free feast for everyone. And then without fear, singing our hearts out, we carry the lanterns as a symbol of our hopes and our joy around the village for everyone to share. 

The Festival of LightsDate: 31st December 2019

Time: 7:30 pm till Midnight

Tickets: R 180 p/person (adults), R 90 for children between 6 and 12 years.

Contact persons: Gerald Mei and Sandra Sweers

Email: gerald@bethesdatower.co.za and


Tel: 049 8411 731


festival of lights

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