One of the highlights of any pilgrimage to Lourdes has always been the Torchlight Procession. Everyone assembles at around 7pm, while it is still fairly light, since in Lourdes night falls quickly. All the pilgrims, carrying their candles, both those in wheelchairs and those pushing the chairs - the handmaids and the brancardiers - process round the Esplanade. While they are processing, the pilgrims recite the Rosary, all in their different languages. The Our Father and the ten Hail Marys are spoken because, at the time of the apparitions, Bernadette had spoken them. The Glory Be, however, is sung - in Latin, so that everybody can sing together - since it was at the Glory Be, where at the Grotto, Our Lady had joined in the prayer.
By the time the Procession has gone round the Esplanade and assembled in front of the Basilica, the light from the candles contrasts with the surrounding darkness.