How to put on a vigil
What is a vigil?
A #WithSyria vigil is a group of people standing together, shining a light in solidarity with the people of Syria. It is not about taking any side in the conflict, but standing with the millions of Syrian children, women, and men who are struggling each day to survive this crisis.
When should the vigil take place?
Vigils will ideally take place at sunset on the 13th March but can also take place any time in the run up to the anniversary.
Who should participate?
It will be important that as many people as possible participate, including children. You can also encourage local celebrities, political representatives, and faith leaders to join.
Where should the vigil take place?
Vigils can take place preferably outside a local or national monument, but vigils can take place anywhere.
Assemble your vigil in a location where it is possible to create a photograph showing the entire building as well as the people attending the vigil.
In countries where the #WithSyria coalition have organised the illumination of a landmark building (this will be in Russia, US, UK, France and Jordan – exact locations to be confirmed) vigils can take place near these and ideally will form part of the illumination.
What should the vigil look like?
The vigil should be as striking as possible to ensure that we’re able to produce compelling images that can be used for social and traditional media. To do this you can use a few different tactics:
a. Use different kinds of light
Candlelit vigils are simple and can be organised anywhere. We also encourage the use of illuminated red LED balloons in your vigil. These balloons light up and helium-filled ones can be released into the sky. (If you would like help in sourcing such balloons, please email firstname.lastname@example.org) You might also want to use light pens, flashlights, mobile phones or sparklers (taking the necessary environmental and safety precautions!).
b. Write a message at your vigil
You can write a message with candles and/or people holding them. This creates something which is instantly photogenic and can create a powerful image. This could be #WITHSYRIA, the campaign’s hashtag, or simply WITH SYRIA.
c. Colour and scale
Another way to create a visually compelling image is to use a large number of candles, of different colours, or use mirrors, and other colourful objects. The examples show that close-ups of children beside candles can work really well. Sometimes the best picture will be with just one child.
d. Send messages
If using balloons in your vigil, we encourage you to tie simple tags to them, on which participants can write a message to a Syrian. If appropriate, the tag can request that participants also tweet their message using #WithSyria. Helium balloons can be released into the sky, or, if you have environmental concerns, you can release a single balloon symbolically.
Here are two ways we’d like you to share your vigil photos:
- Via Twitter and Facebook – remembering to use #WithSyria to show your support on social media channels.
- Via our Flickr group – ensuring you have a Flickr account, then joining flickr.com/groups/WithSyria
NB: Only you and our Flickr group’s administrators can remove your photo from a group pool – we’ll be creating multiple administrators so we can approve requests as soon as we receive them.