SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints turned on more than a million Christmas lights on Temple Square to celebrate Christ's birth.
Hundreds gathered to watch and responded to the first glimmer of lights this year to oohs and aahs.
"It's just awesome. It's our first time here and we're just sort of in awe right now," said Heidi Murphy from Norwich, Connecticut.
ABC 4 was interviewing with Temple Square visitors when the crew heard an eruption of cheers and applause. A marriage proposal east of the Salt Lake Temple prompted the response.
"I just proposed to my great friend Emily over here," said Elicio Dutra. "What a night to do it," said ABC 4's Noah Bond. "I know it was perfect," he replied. Bond looked at his new fiancée Emily Branch. He said,” How does it feel to be here on Temple Square with the lighting ceremony and have this proposal?" Branch responded,” Amazing! I don't know what to say."
The mood among the more than million lights is light as children and families look at the lights. Many of the lights are blue and white, which are not traditional Christmas colors. Organizers decided to break away from the typical colors to try and break away from the commercialism of Christmas and to instead focus on the birth of Jesus Christ.
Several nativity scenes dot the temple grounds. The largest display is north of the Tabernacle. Another nativity scene sits in the middle of the reflection pond east of the Salt Lake Temple. Multi-cultural nativities stand east of the Church Office Building. ABC 4 found Native American and Oriental nativities.
"Honestly I probably wouldn't have expected to see that in here so it's kind of a cool little thing," said Murphy.
Work on the lights began in August and included up to 100 volunteers at one time.
"It's one of those breathtaking scenes," said Dallin Halls from Highland, Utah.
The lights turn on at dusk and remain on until about 10:00 p.m. seven nights a week through New Year's Eve.
"It's a type of beauty you can't find any other time of the year. They've made the holidays very special and significant," said Eric Littlewood from Midvale, Utah.