2023 Carols by Candlelight

24 December 2023, 9pm-10pm
Victoria Square

Join us on Christmas Eve, 24 December from 9pm-10pm in Victoria Square for this extra special candlelight event as we celebrate Christmas with our family – you.

Since 1948 Carols by Candlelight has been a unique event in Christchurch, that encourages people to get together and celebrate family and Christmas in a traditional and magical manner. Bringing together all faiths, age groups and cultures, Carols by Candlelight is a true celebration of family, of Christmas and of community spirit.

Carols by Candlelight starts at 9pm and features the Salvation Army Band, guest performers, a combined Christchurch choir and a few twists to help celebrate. Candles and carol books will be on sale, the proceeds of which help make this event possible. Toilets and food vendors will also be onsite.

24 December 1948
The Christchurch City Corps bandmaster, Kenneth Bridge, met with YMCA officers to arrange a candlelight carol – singing event on Christmas Eve, 1948. His band was to accompany the singing and the initial carol-sing was staged on the banks of the Avon River, near the Bridge of Remembrance. With an attendance of 5,000 people, the event was so successful that the YMCA were encouraged to make it an annual event. Stuart Simpson was the song leader for the first Carols by Candlelight.

Salvation Army community ministry in Central Christchurch 1883 – 2012, complied by William Allott




Thanks to the following supporters for making 2023 Carols by Candlelight possible:




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