Lighting Up Temple Square

“On The Third Day of Christmas, MoSop is excited to share…”

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Facts About Lighting Temple Square

One of the most beloved holiday destinations is the Christmas light display on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. For as long as I can remember, it has been one of our treasured family traditions to bundle-up and enjoy the beautiful colored lights and marvel at the detailed nativity scenes from around the world. A special treat is when we can time our visit during a fresh snow-fall. There’s nothing quite so magical and peaceful.

Each year there seems to be something new to discover and enjoy, as the display is always expanding and improving.

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For example, just a couple of years ago, the Church Office building began to be surrounded with glowing luminaries, and the life-sized audio-visual Nativity was updated with exquisite life-like details. In an interview by PCTV, Grounds Manager Eldon Cannon gives us the “inside scoop” about the history, time, effort, process and future plans for making this holiday event successful year after year. Enjoy!

Bonus Trivia:

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1. First Family: The longest-running Nativity scene on Temple Square consists of a set of mannequins dressed as Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus. The clothing was treated to preserve the fabric during the cold months. Later, the mannequins were covered with a plaster mixture, giving them a glossy-white look visitors see today.

2. Going International: Nativity scenes with special appeal to children were added in 2002.

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Originally displayed during the Salt Lake Winter Olympics, these crèches allow children to view Nativities from different cultural perspectives.  Families can stand inches from the child-size sets hailing from New Zealand, Ukraine, Japan and Latin America.

3. Illuminating Facts: Visitors to Temple Square will also see luminaries lining walkways. Crafted of both metal and fabric, each lighted fixture is meant to remind visitors of Christ. The fabric luminaries were hand stenciled by volunteers who then used wood-burning tools to inscribe messages on the fabric.

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The bags represent a wide variety of languages, each containing the message of “peace,” “joy” or “Merry Christmas.” The metal luminaries were originally cans that had nails driven through them. Today, the metal is carved with a scene from Christ’s life found in scripture and then molded to look like a can.


  1. I would love to either buy luminaries like these or learn how to make them! I loved them! They were beautiful!! Can you reply via email with who to contact with more information about the luminaries this year?


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