Hold a Candle Lighting Ceremony

Candle lighting ceremony held at the University of Warwick to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Organised by Regional Ambassadors Zach and Emma.


“Chose a central/busy location, somewhere you are able to get interest from people passing by.”

- Zach



Choose your date, format and location. Secure any relevant bookings.


Draft any speeches or printed materials you might use during the event and email these to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We want to hear about your projects!


Begin to advertise online and in-person. Get in touch with people or groups who may be able to spread the word. Gather the materials you need, e.g. candles, lighters/matches.


Print all materials needed for the day, including readings and instructions.


Set up your area in good time to make sure you have access to everything you need.


If you’re going to incorporate real candles into your ceremony, we would suggest only advertising this event to those aged 16 and above and advise you to consider health and safety carefully due to the candle lighting. If you would like to include younger audiences, you should use electric tea lights. Be sure that you’re placing the candles in a safe place – with nothing next to candles, with adequate space – and that you’re taking necessary safety precautions (you should speak to the venue manager and ensure they’re aware of your plans). Never leave candles unattended.

        1. Decide what you want to achieve

          • What does Holocaust Memorial Day mean to you as an Ambassador? Why is important to mark it in your school, college, university or local community?

          • Consider who you want to reach and how holding a candle lighting ceremony will help you convey the importance of remembering the Holocaust.

        2. Plan your format

          Consider whether you want your event to be a chance to reflect individually, for people to stop by whenever they pass, or as a group, for a more structured event.

        3. Events for individual reflection:
          • Select a time when foot traffic is likely to be high in your chosen location.

          • Set up a table with tea lights and matches/lighters. Electric candles are also an option.

          • Leave instructions for participants to light their candles.

          • You could provide readings for people to look at whilst lighting their candle.

        4. Events for group reflection:
          • Lay out candles at least 2m apart from each other.

          • Ask each participant to stand by a candle.

          • You could arrange for individuals to read aloud certain readings whilst candles are being lit.

        5. Tackle logistics

          • Location: If possible, we’d advise that you host the event outside and encourage social distancing.

          • Bookings: If you need to book the space, secure it as soon as possible. Explain that you’re an Ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust and your motivations for marking Holocaust Memorial Day.

          • Materials: Arrange how you will buy/borrow the candle lighting materials (candles and matches or electric tea lights). You may also wish to print instructions for participants.

          • Regarding COVID-19 and in-person events, make sure you follow guidelines from the government and your school/university/organisation, keeping track of any changes to these. Keep your audience socially distanced wherever possible and encourage mask-wearing. Always have an online backup plan for in-person events!
        6. Advertise

        7. You know your audience best, but you may want to consider doing some of the following.
          • Set up a Facebook event to easily share details of the event and keep track of interest. We recommend that this is only shared with your contacts and isn’t an open invitation.

          • Share key information about your event on any and all social media platforms. Tag us and use common hashtags to increase engagement (see below for how!)

          • Create a simple poster to attach to your social media posts. Include the most important logistical details and relevant images.

          • Create physical posters to hang in areas with high foot traffic – e.g. school corridors, SU buildings.

          • Contact people, groups or societies who might have an interest in your event (e.g. A-Level history class, academic or film societies, university departments). They may be able to share your posts or advertise to their own audience.

        8. Contextualise your ceremony

          • It is important to provide some context to participants so they understand what it means to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. If you’re running an event for individual reflection, you could do this by printing out posters or leaflets to display/hand out. If you’re planning a group event, you could give an introductory speech. You may wish to:

          • Introduce yourself as an Ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust and explain what your role entails and what this means to you.

          • For Holocaust Memorial Day events to be meaningful, we need to ensure the audience knows what the Holocaust was. Remember what you learnt about on the Lessons from Auschwitz Project – you learnt a specific definition. Share this as your starting point.

          • Explain why it is important that we mark Holocaust Memorial Day and why you've chosen to hold a candle lighting ceremony to do so.

          • Speak about your experiences on the Project you took part in.

          • Reflect on the theme of One Day and what this means to you. Take a look at our guidance notes for more information.

          • Include some introductory information about the Holocaust for those who are less familiar. Be sure to include the fact that six million Jewish men, women and children were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators and highlight personal stories where possible.

          • Place survivor stories around the area for people to reflect on. You can find bios summarising some survivors’ testimonies on the Trust’s website here.

        9. Once you've written your introductory speech, email us a copy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
        10. Share your success!

          • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let us know how you got on and how many people you reached.

          • Share pictures of the event social media – tag us and be sure to use the right hashtags!


If you’re looking for more information, inspiration and guidance, there are plenty more resources for you to explore.

The Holocaust Educational Trust:

Other organisations: