Caroling in Jackson Square
By Jorge Fuentes
Click aqui para español- >Villancicos en Jackson Square
One of the brightest traditions for the Christmas holidays in New Orleans turns the French Quarter into a huge choir of people who get together to sing the songs of the season illuminated by thousands of candles.
It works like this: The crowds start showing up on the evening of the event at Jackson Square, usually about 10 days before Christmas, and wait for the gates to open. Once there, each person is provided with a free candle and a songbook and after a brief ceremony on a stage in front of the cathedral, the music starts. You do have to be there early ready to wait in line since the singing begins right on time, and the whole thing is over within the hour.
“Imagine a sea of people you just see candles,” said Sandra Dartus, a member of the group that organizes the event. “It’s such a wonderful feeling, a sea of humanity and all these candles, singing and smiling together,” she said.
Patio Planters of The Vieux Carré is the official name of the 350 volunteers who work all year round to raise the funds that cover the cost of the candles, the songbooks, and all of the expenses for security and the logistics that allow from 8 to 10 thousand people each year get together in peace, and this has happened continuously since 1946.
In one of those occasions, with bad weather threatening, the Archbishop at the time offered to host the singing at the cathedral to shelter the crowd and that has been the rain plan for a few times already.
This year, Caroling in Jackson Square is taking place on Sunday, December 16 at 7 pm.
Photo credit Vieuxcarreplanters
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