Gouda by Candlelight, known colloquially as Kaarsjesavond (Candle Night), is a famous annual Christmas event in the city of Gouda. This tradition is marked by countless lit candles, singing, and festivities. Thousands of visitors flock to Gouda by Candlelight every year which takes place in front of the Gothic town hall. Street and electric lights are turned off, and instead the evening is lit by candles placed in windows facing and around the square. The Mayor gives a speech and lights a towering Christmas tree adorned with thousands of light bulbs to create a truly magical experience. The Christmas tree is an annual gift from its Norwegian sister city, Kongsberg.
Choirs gather to sing Christmas carols with audiences enthusiastically joining in. Attendees visit nearby churches and museums following the celebration. Gouda became known for producing quality candles around the mid-19th century, although it is probably most famous for its other waxy product – Gouda cheese. Gouda candles are made from a natural wax that burns steadily for hours and can be purchased around the city as souvenirs.