The Carols By Candlelight annual singalong on the lawns of the Grand Palm hotel is one of the most festive events in Gaborone. This Sunday 24th November, families are going to be treated to a host of new activities and even a slight change of venue. Get ready for a fun afternoon that’s guaranteed to kick you into the Christmas spirit!
Carols By Candlelight have always been a southern hemisphere tradition. Whilst walking home on Christmas Eve in 1937, Australian radio announcer Norman Banks passed a window where inside he saw an elderly woman lit by candlelight, singing along to Away in a Manger. Wondering how many others spent Christmas alone, he had the idea to gather people to all sing Christmas carols together by candlelight. The first ever such event was held the following Christmas and enjoyed by around 10,000 people and are now celebrated all around the world.
Coming Together For Our Disadvantaged Children
The Carols By Candlelight event in Gaborone is an annual charity event which focuses on donations of Christmas gifts and money for children’s homes and charities around Botswana. For the past 30 years the Rotary Club of Gaborone, Inner Wheel, the Rotaract Young Professionals Club, The Lions Club, Ladies Circle, Round Table, Agora and now also The 41 Club, have worked to make this an annual event not to be missed.
This year’s Carols By Candlelight event will be held at the Grand Palm/GICC complex and will start from 3pm on the afternoon of Sunday 24th November. It’ll be held on the lawns at the front of the GICC!
The organisers have been working hard to elevate the event this year by adding tons of new family-fun activities. The Christmas Market will have many stalls filled with Christmas items and locally-made gifts. At Santa’s Grottos, children can have their photograph taken with Santa for a small fee. SensoBaby and InPlay will be helping children play and create Christmas-inspired crafts. The Marimba band from Thornhill Primary School will start playing around 5pm and then the 80 strong choir and orchestra from Thornhill will lead all attending in the Christmas carols from 6.30pm.
3pm: Christmas Market and Children’s Entertainment Opens
3:30pm: Kingdomcity Nativity Play
5pm: Listen to the Thornhill Marimba Band
6:30pm: The Carols By Candlelight begin
How to Make The Most Of Your Afternoon
* The event is free, provided you bring a children’s gift for charity. Please wrap it and mark the age and gender that the gift is suitable for on the paper. Please bring one gift per person who attends.
* Bring a picnic blanket, camp chairs, or other way of making yourself comfortable. You’ll be on the lawn, after all.
* As it’s late in the day, please leave the view-blocking gazebos at home but if you’re coming to enjoy the afternoon fun, umbrellas for some shade may be a good idea!
* Food and drink will be available onsite from the Grand Palm. No cooler boxes.
* Bring crayons or coloured pencils for your children. This year’s songbook includes colouring pages to keep the kiddies engaged.
* It should go without saying, but keep your children safe. The entertainment zones are ‘stay and play’ for parents and children together (no childcare).
* Bring cash. The stallholders at the market won’t have swiping machines.
* Candles and song sheets will be provided at the entrance gate.
The Carols By Candlelight organisers would like to thank their event sponsors: The Grand Palm, Thornhill Primary School, Kingdomcity, Hollard, Spar, Parmalat, Timba Trading, ShowGroup, Crystal Digital Print, Farmers Market, Inplay, SensoBaby, and (ahem) Family Gems. Also a big thanks goes to the Sunday Standard, Yarona FM and Gabz FM.
We hope to see you there!