BETHLEHEM – In early December each year, a young Austrian girl or boy travels to Bethlehem to light a special Peace Light at the Church of the Nativity. The Peace Light then travels back to Vienna, Austria, to be shared with people from all over the world.
On 14 December, Guides and Scouts from all over Europe and beyond will take part in a Sharing Ceremony in Vienna. Participants are invited to light their own candles from the Peace Light, and from there the light will travel to communities all over the world by road, rail or ferry as a symbol of peace and hope. Guides and Scouts have taken part in this ceremony for 25 years, through the active involvement of Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Österreichs, showing our Movement's commitment to spreading peace. To allow enough time for the Light to travel as far as possible, it reaches destinations outside Europe a bit earlier. This year, the Peace Light will reach New York in the USA on 4 December, from where it will travel across the USA and onward to Canada, Mexico and beyond.
Every Scout and Guide Group can participate through organised networks in their countries. The number of participating countries has increased over the years, and it is hoped that many more Scouts and Guides around the world will take part in the future. This is why the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) will be supporting the Peace Light event this year through the Messengers of Peace network. Keep an eye on your Scout Association’s website and consult the attached document for more information on when and if the Peace Light will travel to your community, and how you can take part.
Right here on scout.org you will be able to track how the Peace Light travels across the world, share photos and stories of your own participation and take part in a special Peace Light Challenge! Don't forget to add the hashtag #PeaceLight when posting updates here on scout.org. The special Peace Light page will be available 4-31 December.
For an article on this year's lighting ceremony in Bethlehem, see "This year’s ORF Peace Light Lantern lit in Bethlehem"