2021 Lighting of the Bonfires returns Christmas Eve

November 12, 2021 GMT

CONVENT, La. (AP) — A unique holiday tradition is returning to St. James Parish in Louisiana.

The Lighting of the Bonfires will be held this Christmas Eve after skipping the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, news outlets reported.

“I am overjoyed to have this special event return to our community this year,” said Parish President Pete Dufresne. “I look forward to sharing in the holiday season with our residents and I know this Christmas will be one to remember.”

The centuries-old holiday tradition is attended by thousands from around the world. A unique tradition for St. James Parish, lighting the bonfires on Christmas Eve signals a lighted path for Papa Noel to travel, bringing Christmas joy to the children of the River Parishes.

Permits are required for families planning to construct a bonfire — usually around 15 feet in height — on the Mississippi River levee. Beginning Nov. 20, permits will be available at the St. James Parish Welcome Center in Gramercy between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Permits can be paid for by check or money order only. No cash will be accepted.

The 2021 bonfire season is from Nov. 21 through Dec. 27. Permitted bonfire construction may not begin until Nov. 21.