Time & Location
About the Event
Since 1998, the community celebrates the Finnish tradition of lighting candles for those who have passed by placing luminaries next to each grave in the Maple Grove Township Cemetery in the village of Kaleva on December 21st (the shortest day of the year). This event is reminiscent of the Finnish tradition of lighting candles on Christmas Eve for fallen friends or family.
Community members begin arriving at 4pm to create over 1,000 luminaries by filling paper bags with sand and a candle. Following the lighting, people gather by the fire for a prayer and Christmas carols. Bethany Lutheran Church also offers soup and bread to nourish the workers at 5:30 pm at the church.