A candlelight vigil is an outdoor assembly of people carrying candles, held after sunset in order to show support for a specific cause. Such events are typically held either to protest the suffering of some marginalized group of people, or in memory of a life or lives lost to some disease, disaster, massacre or other tragedy. In the latter case, the event is often called a candlelight memorial. A large candlelight vigil will usually have invited speakers with a public address system and may be covered by local or national media. Speakers give their speech at the beginning of the vigil to explain why they are holding a vigil and what it represents. Vigils may also have a religious or spiritual purpose. On Christmas Eve many churches hold a candlelight vigil.
Candlelight vigils are seen as a nonviolent way to raise awareness of a cause and to motivate change, as well as uniting and supporting those attending the vigil.