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Festival of Lights commemorates lost loved ones at Christmas

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Festival of Lights volunteer, Doris Skillen, lights a candle that will serve as a memory for a lost loved at the Dryden Cemetery grounds. Photo by Lindsey Enns

By Lindsey Enns

While the holidays can mark a special time filled with gatherings of close friends and family members, it can also be a difficult time for those with lost loved ones.

For over a decade, the Festival of Lights on Christmas Eve at the Dryden Cemetery grounds has given families and friends the chance to celebrate Christmas with lost loved ones by lighting a candle in their memory.

Several volunteers donate their time to this special event each year, including David Raine and his family, who have been helping make and set up the ice candle sculptures for the past eight or so years. He says it’s become a family tradition for him and his children and something that he holds very dear to his heart.

“It really is a beautiful sight,” Raine said.

“People come out, light their candles and visit. It’s just very calming.”

Nearly 1,000 candles were lit last year, filling the normally dark cemetery grounds with flickering lights. This year, like in the past, donations from the candles will be collected and given to the Dryden Palliative Care unit at the Dryden Regional Health Centre that helps ensure a level of comfort for those living with a life-threatening illness.

Candle orders can be placed through David Raine by calling 223-2866 or Doris Skillen at 223-6606. Those wanting to light a candle near a loved ones graveside can do so anytime Dec. 24.


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