OverviewDo’s and don’ts
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Last edited: January 03, 2012

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Vigils are silent protest assemblies of people that take place during the normal hours of sleep and usually last several hours. In a candlelit vigil, participants hold candles. Most vigils are held to commemorate sad events. For example, candlelit vigils have been organized in cities where Señorita Extraviada/Missing Young Woman (by Lourdes Portillo, produced by Independent Television Service Production, USA 2001) was screened, a documentary film about the tragic disappearances and murders of hundreds of young women from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, since the 1990s.


Tips for vigils

  • Organize the vigil carefully in advance with a core group of participants so that you do not need to break the silence during the vigil. Designate a few participants who can quietly explain the purpose of the vigil to media representatives or to passers-by if needed.
  • Choose a fitting, high-profile venue, advertise for the vigil in advance and invite the media to cover the event. Place at least one large poster in a visible spot to advertise your cause. You can also quietly hand out leaflets, and set up a table with lists to collect signatures for a petition.
  • For a candlelit vigil, use candles in transparent jars to protect the flame against the wind. You can ask each participant to bring one, or centrally organize a few dozen large candles and place them around the assembly.