Leipzig Festival of Lights

On 9 October 1989 around 70,000 people took to the streets in the East German city of Leipzig, despite the threat of a command to shoot. With candles in their hands, they peacefully demanded more freedom and democracy in the GDR – a decisive catalyst for the start of the Peaceful Revolution that finally led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. With the call "Wir sind das Volk" [We are the People] and "No Violence", people gathered to march across the Leipzig inner-city ring road.

The dramatic events of Autumn of 1989 encourage people even today. The remembrance of those days is kept alive by the citizens of Leipzig in many ways, in particular, the commemoration of the 9th of October. On this day, the focus will be on the Prayer for Peace and the Speech on Democracy at St. Nicholas Church, as well as on the Leipzig Festival of Lights at Augustusplatz.



Programme Leipzig Festival of Lights 2018


Prayer for Peace, St. Nicholas Church

Since 1982, peace, environmental and human rights groups had been regularly invited to Prayers for Peace into St. Nicholas Church. From here emanated the Monday demonstrations in September 1989. After the Prayers for Peace on 9 October, more than 70,000 people gathered in the city centre of Leipzig for a non-violent demonstration – the
breakthrough for the Peaceful Revolution


Speech on Democracy, St. Nicholas Church

Since 2001, the Speech on Democracy has continuously represented one of the high points of the Autumn of '89 series. Every 9th of October, representatives from one of the three constitutional organs of the Federal Republic of Germany or international guests have spoken in the church.


Leipzig Festival of Lights, Augustusplatz

Since 2009, the famous Leipzig Festival of Lights has commemorated this historic date with an annual sea of candles and performances by international artists. After dealing, in the past few years, with in the pursuit of liberty and democracy in the GDR and other Eastern European countries, now civil society is the over riding topic. Throughout the evening, the visitors of the Festival of Lights are, as in previous years, invited to form an illuminated "89" with thousands of candles.

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