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The LHS Review

Lanterns launched at ‘Points of Light’ Celebration

Acre neighborhood site of festival

At+times+the+canals+in+Lowell+can+be+a+place+of+beauty+and+tranquility+like+at+the+first+annual+Festival+of+Light.
At times the canals in Lowell can be a place of beauty and tranquility like at the first annual Festival of Light.

At times the canals in Lowell can be a place of beauty and tranquility like at the first annual Festival of Light.

Artwork by Nathalia Rodriguez

Artwork by Nathalia Rodriguez

At times the canals in Lowell can be a place of beauty and tranquility like at the first annual Festival of Light.

Christina Prum, Editor

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Lowell, MA- Lanterns float across the Western Canal, meanwhile onlookers point and snap photographs of the long awaited glowing sight.  The first annual Points of Light Celebration, a tradition in the making, was sponsored by DIY Lowell and held in the Acre neighborhood.

During the celebration lanterns adorn the Western Canal where they float downstream. The canal, an underrated location between the St.Patrick’s Church and the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox church, offers a unique location for a festival of light between ornate structures which serve diverse communities.

While the event has no religious affiliation itself, points of Light aims to showcase hope and spring renewal. Across the world, light is a common theme in cultures when celebrating the joy of life and common to the church communities as well. In fact, there is a variation of a light festival on every continent.

Laura Scarlett Tavares, one of the coordinators of the event, hoped that Points of Light would be, “a celebration of cultural and ethnic diversity” for the Lowell community.

Points of light originated simply as an idea that was pitched to an organization known as DIY Lowell.  DIY Lowell encourages people to get involved in the community.

People may submit ideas to the group that make the city a better place. After ideas are submitted, the community votes for which ideas they like the best. Top four ideas are then discussed at a community summit. Other than the Points of Light celebration, DIY Lowell is responsible for the pop up historical trail signs.

The lanterns used in the event were all biodegradable and removed from the water post-celebration. During the formation of the event, many citizens had concerns of the environmental impact of this celebration.

Paying homage to Earth day, the celebration was deliberately chosen to be on April 22, to draw attention to the importance of water in our lives. At the core, Points of Light was created to be as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.

Many local organizations were involved with the event. For instance, a few of the organizations involved in keeping the celebration sustainable were Lowell Recycle, Offbeet Composting Co., YWCA, Lowell Canal Waters Cleaners, Lowell DPW. To keep the area free of extra pollution, there was a designated tent for attendees to throw away trash, recycling, and composting.

Public response to the celebration overall was extremely positive. Some are upset that the lanterns did not fly, “like the scene from Tangled.” However, based off of the amount of praise expressed for the event. Future Points of Light celebrations should be in demand and a tradition born.

Points of light is a free event on Ecumenical Plaza at the Western Canal that lasts from 5pm-9pm, with the lanterns launching at 7:15pm. The entirety of the event is run by members of the Lowell community. Everything from the lanterns to markers for decoration are given free of charge.  Let’s make it a bright cultural tradition for Lowell.

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Lowell High School's Newspaper of Record
Lanterns launched at ‘Points of Light’ Celebration