By K. David Weidner, Ph.D., Executive Director
The Pilgrim Monument’s Annual Lighting will occur on November 11, 2021. The PMPM grounds will not be open to the public, but we will be broadcasting on Facebook Live and our website, starting a few minutes before 6pm ET.
In all my years of visiting and living in Provincetown, one of my favorite events is the Annual Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument. To see our town’s iconic tower, lit up and standing tall for TRUTH — Tolerance, Respect, Unity, Trust and History — is simply awe-inspiring. We hope that it inspires you to embrace the holiday season, as well as remember Provincetown’s rightful place in our country’s rich history.
Why We Do It
The Lighting means many things to many people. To most, it commemorates the Mayflower’s arrival and the time it spent in our harbor. To others, it is the town’s big holiday tree and welcomes the festive season. We like them all; however, the commemoration of the landing of the Mayflower pilgrims and the signing of the Mayflower Compact are at the top of our list.
For us at PMPM, it’s our beacon to the world, shining bright for what Provincetown stands today: tolerance, acceptance, equality and freedom – all the same things the Mayflower Pilgrims sought when they embarked on their historic journey, 401 years ago.
This Year’s Lighting
The 2021 Annual Lighting will bear two things in common with last year’s: it will take place on November 11 and we, unfortunately, will not be welcoming guests to PMPM for festivities, like in the past.
Starting in 2020, which was the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival into Provincetown Harbor, the Lighting was moved from the night before Thanksgiving to November 11th, which is the actual day the Pilgrims recorded in their books as having reached the New World. For complete details on the motives and math behind the switch, please read this post.
There are now 11 strands of lights illuminating the skyline, versus the previous 13. Was the switch in recognition of the Pilgrims landing on 11/11? While we’d love to say so, the answer is no. To be more sustainable, we have switched to more efficient LED (light emitting diode) bulbs which are more brilliant than the bulbs we used previously, therefore only needing 11 strands. But we do like the connection to 11/11.
Time to Get Loud!
In 2020, our first year of not having our normal in-person celebrations for the Lighting, when we did throw the switch, we were deeply moved by Provincetown’s reaction – we heard yelling, cheering and horns honking, loud enough for our camera to capture it. It was truly fantastic and reminded us that despite us not being able to gather for the event, we were all still together in support of our beloved Pilgrim Monument and the joy the Lighting brings.
That is why this year we are encouraging everyone to get Loud for the Lights. When you see them come on this Thursday, a few minutes after 6pm, we want to hear you! Bang some pots, honk your horns, give a joyful holler!
We cannot wait to hear you on Thursday!
Please support the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum’s annual Lighting appeal. Every bit helps us to ensure the Pilgrim Monument remains a symbol of our community and representative of our inclusive values. Donate today!
Did you know that you can sponsor the Annual Lighting in honor of someone? Board President, Courtney Hurst tells a story of how her grandmother would gift Lightings in honor of each of her grandchildren. Courtney said while growing up in Provincetown, it was always special knowing that on one night, the Monument was lit for her.