The French word ‘Fete’ means ‘an elaborate party, often outdoors’. And as far as outdoor parties go, they do not get bigger than the Fete Des Lumieres in Lyon, France.
Virtually the entire historic city of Lyon lights up for this outdoor winter festival, and it is the signature event for this famous city, where the rivers Rhone and Saone converge.
Every year for four days around the second week of December, Fete Des Lumieres takes the form of a festival to celebrate light, and gives the city its title, ‘Capital of Lights’. If there was ever a perfect time and place to be the salt and light of the world, our clients probably found it at this festival.
Of course, the path to France was made possible with the help of many hands. The involvement and assistance from The Living Project, conceived by Allan Lim, Kenny Eng and Singapore sculptor Mr Sun Yu Li, and from the Tree of Life creator, Khor Tuck Kuan, turned what can be described only as a dream of taking COH clients to Lyon, into reality.
Through The Living Project, COH clients Shaun and Valerie were chosen to represent COH Tree of Life at this inspiring event – a spectacle and marvel of light displays and shows. It gave COH the opportunity to extend their message promoting the empowerment of the less fortunate through art, and spread the message of Eco sustainability across national boundaries and borders.
Assisting Shaun and Valerie were COH staff Ai Hwa and Rosalind, and once in France, the team married up with Lyon-based Singaporeans, Rachael and Patrick.
Off to work we go
Arriving just 6 days before the show officially started, the team quickly got busy with preparation of materials for their big event. COH would collaborate with youths with autism from the Premier Film School in Lyon and their teachers, to craft recyclable windmills and decorative recyclable lights for the festival audiences.
Shawn and Valerie showed their new friends from the Premier Film School how to make the recyclable pieces, and the next few days were spent producing the art pieces, as well as conducting more art workshops.
On the eve of the Fete, the team busied itself preparing for opening night, as they welcomed officials for the launch of the event proper – Mr Tan York Chor, Singapore’s Ambassador to France, and Monsieur Gerard Collomb, the Senator-Mayor of Lyon.
Opening night saw the team operating in full swing – facilitating message writing, taking photographs, having conversations and explaining their part in the project to the audience of the Fete Des Lumieres.
Occasionally, live music would accompany the spectacle of the lights, sculptures and other displays, while people from all over would muse over the artwork produced by our project’s many hands.
All too soon, the Fete Des Lumieres came to its conclusion, and the COH team reveled for as long as they could, staying late into the night on the final evening.
Au Revoir! (See you again!)
Saying goodbye to Lyon, the team took with them some unforgettable moments, and cherished new friendships.
But most of all, they leave behind many hearts that they have touched, and minds that they have transformed about the power of enabled living, and the value of recycling.
About the Author: The COH Resource Team comprises volunteers, content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals.