Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (2023)

KENSINGTON, Maryland— The Christmas lights, and their unifying message of peace and goodwill for the whole world, are back on at the Washington D.C. Temple.

More than 400,000 lights burst into view on the temple grounds Tuesday night, Nov. 29, when Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Singapore’s ambassador to the United States, Ashok Mirpuri, pressed a red button together.

The ceremony launched the 45th annual Festival of Lights at the temple, the first complete festival since 2019.

Elder Cook said the lighting ceremony represented the commencement of the Christmas season celebration, which “commemorates the birth and life of Jesus Christ, who we revere as Savior and Redeemer of the world.

“As Christians, we believe that all of us are children of a loving Father in Heaven and that Jesus Christ is His only Begotten Son. Our scriptures speak of Jesus Christ as the light and life of the world” (3 Nephi 11:10-11).

Elder Cook called Jesus Christ “the ultimate symbol and champion of how to vanquish the superficial distinctions that otherwise divide us from our sisters and brothers in the family of man.”

Latter-day Saints take that “universal injunction seriously,” he said. “Members of our faith are committed to doing what we can to help better communities and break down barriers that prevent God’s children from sharing in the peace and goodwill that ought to be a common inheritance for all humankind.”

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (1)

Ambassadors and other guests take photos and enjoy the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

The ceremony took place in the lobby of the temple visitors’ center. Dozens of invited ambassadors to the United States from around the world, diplomats and interfaith leaders sat with their families in front of the Christus statue. They faced a window that looked out at the brightly lit temple.

“Across the world, the Festival of Lights carries a deep symbolic and spiritual significance,” Mirpuri said. “In many religious traditions and cultures, light is celebrated as a representation of life and joy, the triumph of good, of hope, of warmth.”

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President Russell M. Nelson announced in April of 2021, that the Church would build its first temple in Singapore.Mirpuri said it would be the Church’s third in Southeast Asia, and Elder Cook praised Singapore for a rich legacy of religious tolerance.

“We look forward to welcoming the temple as a feature of Singapore’s multiethnic and multireligious landscape,” Mirpuri said.

Elder Cook told the ambassadors that their responsibilities reminded him of the shepherds who first received the news of Christ’s birth.

“You, like shepherds, must look to the welfare of your nations, communities and families as you seek to protect them from a multitude of dangers. It is no easy task,” he said.

He encouraged them not “to despair amid the continual doom loop of data that bombards us” but to confront challenges with a confidence “that comes from an understanding of the ‘good tidings’ and ‘great joy’ that the angel brought to ‘all people.’”

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (2)

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during a ceremony to light the Christmas light display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

The lighting ceremony symbolized a diversity of cultures, faith traditions and beliefs, said Elder Cook, who said his Christmas prayer was that all people would apply Christ’s principles of peace and goodwill.

He told the ambassadors about the Church’s efforts to do so.

“We work to feed the hungry, clothe the needy, welcome the stranger and care for the sick,” he said. “We seek to combat racism and prejudice, protect the natural environment and strengthen the bonds of understanding and fellowship that separate disparate groups.”

(Video) Washington DC Temple Lights

Elder Cook said the Church provides assistance to people within and beyond the Church because the good news delivered to shepherds about Christ’s birth was universal in nature.

“Our actions are motivated by a foundational belief that we are all God’s children,” he said.

The lighting ceremony included J.W. “Bill” Marriott and his wife, Donna Marriott, and the Washington D.C. Temple Choir. Everyone joined in singing Christmas carols together.

During the program,Utah Sen. Mitt Romney introduced Ambassador Mirpuri; Bill Marriott introduced Elder Cook.

Bill Marriott, who has participated in every one of the temple’s Festivals of Lights, called Christ “the bright and morning star with light that can never be dimmed.”

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (3)

Richard Marriott greets Elder Quentin L. Cook during a reception prior to the ceremony to light the Christmas light display at the Washington DC Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Mirpuri and others expressed joy that the festival had returned.

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Festival of Lights became a drive-thru. The event was canceled in 2021 as workers focusedon completing the temple renovation.

The temple — which closed in 2018to renovate mechanical and electrical systems and refresh finishes and furnishings —was rededicated in Augustby President Nelson.

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  • Read more about the Washington D.C. Temple rededication

Green, red, white, purple and blue lights will illuminate the temple grounds each night from Dec. 1, 2022, through Jan. 2, 2023. In addition to the lights and decorated Christmas trees on the temple grounds, visitors can see 87 créche displays or Nativities from 64 countries inside the temple’s visitors’ center.

No ticket is required to see the lights or créches. Free tickets are required for the nightly performances — which include the Gay Men’s Chorus on Dec. 6, Polynesian dancers on Christmas Eve and Washington D.C. North missionaries singing Christmas carols on Christmas night. The Beijing Opera will perform on New Year’s Eve.

Tickets are available atdctemple.org.

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (4)

Pavel Shidlovsky, Belarus Head of Mission, talks with Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, during a reception prior to the ceremony to light the Christmas light display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

AmbassadorFrédéricHegbe of the Republic of Togo and his wife, Izmira, were two of the 347,152 who attended the Washington D.C. Temple open house this summer. They returned Tuesday night for the Festival of Lights lighting ceremony.

“It was a wonderful, inspiring night,” Hegbe said. “I’m very attached to Christmas traditions. They are very meaningful to me. So are my friendships with many Latter-day Saints. I’m grateful for the humanitarian work the Church does in Ghana and Togo.”

Hegbe said he agreed with Mirpuri that the event and the lights pulled together people from around the world despite their different cultures and beliefs. He praised his peer for his nation’s religious tolerance.

“If everybody followed what they do in Singapore, we would have peace on earth, what Jesus wished,” Hegbe said.

The festival’s director, Mauri Earl, invited the ambassadors to the open house of the Richmond Virginia Temple from March 25 through April 15, 2023, excluding Sundays and the weekend of April 2023 general conference.

Until then, she said, “I hope the return of these lights this year will shine a spotlight on the kindness of the human soul.”

“This world needs light. It needs your light,” she added. “So I hope the return of the lights this year will glow brightly in your hearts and in your homes that you may feel and radiate more light, more love, more peace, because of your attendance here today.”

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (5) Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (6)

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Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (7)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (8)

Ambassadors and other guests take photos and enjoy the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (9)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (10)

Ambassadors and other guests take photos and enjoy the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (11)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (12)

Ambassadors and other guests take photos and enjoy the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (13)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (14)

Ambassadors and other guests take photos and enjoy the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (15)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (16)

Ambassadors and other guests take photos and enjoy the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

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Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (17)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (18)

Azaria Prince, 5 gets a closer look at one of the donkeys on display in the nativity display following a ceremony to light the Christmas lights at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (19)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (20)

Ambassadors and other guests take photos and enjoy the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (21)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (22)

Ambassadors and other guests take photos and enjoy the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (23)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (24)

Ambassadors and other guests take photos and enjoy the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (25)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (26)

Elizabeth Parker sips a hot cocoa while enjoying the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

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Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (27)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (28)

Ambassadors and other guests take photos and enjoy the Christmas lights following a ceremony to light the display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (29)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (30)

Ambassador Ashok Kumar Mirpuri of Singapore, left, and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles press the button to light the Christmas light display during a ceremony at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (31)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (32)

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during a ceremony to light the Christmas light display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (33)

Christmas lights return to the Washington D.C. Temple grounds (34)

Ambassador of the Republic of Albania, Floreta Faber greets Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, during a reception prior to the ceremony to light the Christmas light display at the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.

Brian Nicholson, for the Deseret News

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FAQs

Will Temple Square have Christmas lights 2022? ›

| Nov. 25, 2022, 5:48 p.m. | Updated: 6:00 p.m. Despite the lack of a formal lighting ceremony, Christmas lights are now on at downtown Salt Lake City's Temple Square — albeit on a more limited basis than most Yuletide seasons.

What time do the lights turn on at Temple Square? ›

Lights on Temple Square turned on Nov. 25 and remain on from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. daily through Jan. 1. There was not a formal lighting ceremony this year.

Are they still doing the lights on Temple Square? ›

Christmas lights are back on the grounds on the Mesa Arizona Temple and the Washington D.C. Temple, as both temples have been rededicated after multiyear renovations. There will be limited lights on Temple Square in Salt Lake City due to renovation and construction.

Is the Mesa Temple going to have Christmas lights this year? ›

Visitors line up at the Mesa Temple Visitors' Center to view Nativities from across the world. The holiday displays returned for Christmas 2022 after a five-year hiatus. Thousands of glittering lights cover trees and shrubs on the grounds of the Mesa Arizona Temple on Nov. 25, 2022.

How Long Do Temple Square lights stay on? ›

The lights are turned on each year the day after the United States Thanksgiving holiday and remain on through New Year's Day. During these evenings, Temple Square is usually aglow with over one million lights.

Where do you park to see the lights at Temple Square? ›

Parking is available at the Conference Center parking facility. The entrance is on West Temple by the Conference Center. Enter in the center of the street. Parking lots fill quickly, and parking is not guaranteed.

What time do the Riverwalk lights come on? ›

It features over 100,000 lights (2,250 strings) arranged over the trees and buildings lining the River Walk. The lights on the river stay on from 6 pm to 8 am. The River Walk is a public space, and visiting the display is free.

Where are Christmas lights in Temple Terrace? ›

The annual Temple Terrace Light Show takes place nightly from 6 to 11 p.m. with snow for 15 minutes at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. all along River Ridge Drive in Temple Terrace. The Christmas light display includes more than 50,000 computerized lights synchronized to music broadcast on 95.5 FM.

How long will Temple Square be closed? ›

Joseph Smith Memorial Building

This building is currently under renovation. It will be closed to the public with an expected reopening in 2025.

Which LDS temples do Christmas lights? ›

Christmas lights are back on the grounds on the Mesa Arizona Temple and the Washington D.C. Temple, as both temples have been rededicated after multiyear renovations.

Is the Garden of lights open? ›

We are officially closed for the season! See you in December 2023!

Where is the biggest Christmas light show in the United States? ›

Village of Lights: Christmastown: Leavenworth, Washington

Each year, more than 500,000 lights adorn town buildings to create a spectacle that even Santa would envy. Throughout December, you can expect a variety of festive events like Christmas carolers, live music performances, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Are Mesa Temple lights open? ›

When are the Mesa temple Christmas lights on? The lights are on from 5-10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31. Farr said to expect the busiest crowds from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

How long are the Christmas lights up in Mt Dora? ›

But the city's Christmas lights festival lasts for a month and includes a wide variety of events. What is this? Mount Dora decorates with three million lights. They flip the switch during the Thanksgiving weekend.

How long does the festival of lights last for? ›

Hanukkah falls on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev and lasts eight days.

How long do the Leavenworth lights stay up? ›

4. Know what festivities to expect in Leavenworth. As mentioned above, Leavenworth's over-the-top Christmas decorations stay up and twinkling from Thanksgiving weekend through mid-February, but you'll have different experiences depending on which part of the holiday season you come.

How long does the lap of Lights last? ›

Silverstone has announced the launch of their 2021 Christmas experience 'Lap of Lights', which is promised to be "bigger and better" than last year's sell-out event, Lap Land. The festive event will open on December 1 2021 and run through to 3 January 2022, closing only on Christmas Day.

Is there free parking at Temple Square? ›

Free underground parking for Temple Square tours, visitors to the Conference Center, and more with a validation. Ask a Conference Center guide for validation.

How long does it take to drive through magic lights Foxboro? ›

LENGTH OF TOUR: 2 miles, approximate. ELAPSED TIME OF TOUR: Half hour, or so. COST: $50 per vehicle …

Are Stanley Park lights free? ›

Admission to Bright Nights, which runs from December 1, 2022 to January 1, 2023, will be by donation. In addition to a wide array of light displays, Bright Nights will include fan favourites like the vintage fire truck, giant red reindeer, and the tunnel of lights in the plaza.

Do you have to pay to park at Riverwalk? ›

WHERE MAY I PARK TO VISIT THE RIVER WALK? There are over 2,000 parking meters, most of which are enforced 8AM-6PM, Mon-Sat. Parking is free outside of these hours. Parking is free in city-run parking garages and lots during “Downtown Tuesday” which is available on most Tuesdays after 6 PM.

How long does it take to walk through the Festival of Lights? ›

How long is the walk through Enchanted Forest of Light? The event route is about 1 mile long, and takes most visitors about one hour to complete. We recommend allowing one and a half hours to experience Enchanted.

How long are Christmas lights on Riverwalk? ›

The lights are turned on every year the day after Thanksgiving at the start of the Ford Holiday River Parade. They always stay up through at least New Year's Day.

Where is the most magical Christmas town? ›

1 - Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington is the most Christmassy town in America, and it's not surprising why. The town is designed to resemble a Bavarian village and goes big for Christmas, with 21 miles of Christmas lights decorating the town.

Where is the most magical Christmas? ›

Rovaniemi, Finland

Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland, has become synonymous with Christmas and Santa Claus. The town of Rovaniemi is known as "the official hometown of Santa Claus" and visitors to the charming Santa Claus Village can meet St.

How many Christmas lights are in Regent Street? ›

The display features over 300,000 low energy LED lights, bringing 45 magical spirits to life. The display has grown throughout the years and you will also now find the spirits on St. James as well as Piccadilly - leading toward the iconic Fortnum & Mason who have gone ALL OUT for Christmas this year, too!

How long is mis Christmas lights? ›

The popular holiday attraction allows families to drive their cars across a five-mile stretch of MIS decorated with approximately 500 displays and one million lights. The show opens to cars on Thanksgiving evening, November 25 and runs through December 31.

Is Regent Street closed to cars? ›

The length of Regent Street, from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus, will be closed to all traffic from 8am to 8pm. Relax and enjoy the car free environment, with deck chairs and greenery located throughout the street.

How often is Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas light show? ›

The show takes place every day during the holiday season, starting at 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM and replays every 10 minutes.

What is the most Christmassy town? ›

Santa Claus, Indiana

Billed as "America's Christmas Hometown," Santa Claus, Indiana, is a real place that just happens to live and breathe Christmas every day of the year.

What time does light up Mount Dora start? ›

This year, Light Up Mount Dora is taking place along the Lake Dora Waterfront. The event starts Saturday at 3:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Holiday lights will turn on from Simpson Cove to Evans Park. Visitors will also be able to meet Santa Claus at Sunset Park.

What religion is Mesa Temple? ›

The Mesa Arizona Temple (formerly the Arizona Temple; nicknamed the Lamanite Temple) is the seventh operating temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Located in the city of Mesa, Arizona, it is the first of six LDS temples built or planned in the state.

Where is the most magical place to spend Christmas in the US? ›

Santa Claus, Indiana

The holiday season goes unmatched as parades, pancake breakfasts, light displays, and endless festive events take center stage during their Christmas Celebration. Local organizations get caught up in the holiday spirit with special activities such as storytimes, cookie baking, and more.

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