Light Night Leeds

Celebrating the diverse and thriving creativity of Leeds, Light Night Leeds is an annual free multi-arts and light festival that takes over Leeds city centre for two nights in October. Starting in 2005, the event has grown year on year and in 2016 was enjoyed by around 80,000 people.

Members of the public witnessed the ethereal blue light cast by Museum of the Moon over Leeds Dock on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th October.


From the beginning of human history, the moon has acted as a ‘cultural mirror’ to our beliefs, understanding and ways of seeing. Over the centuries, the moon has been interpreted as a god and as a planet. It has been used as a timekeeper, calendar and to aid nighttime navigation. Throughout history the moon has inspired artists, poets, scientists, writers and musicians the world over. Different cultures around the world have their own historical, cultural, scientific and religious relationships to the moon.

The Man in the Moon

Here in the Northern hemisphere, in the western world we can see a face, or man in the Moon. The images are actually composed of the dark areas of the lunar maria, or “seas” and the lighter highlands of the lunar surface. These vast, flat spots on the moon are called “maria” or “seas” because, for a long time, astronomers believed they were large bodies of water. They are actually large areas formed by lava that covered up old craters and then cooled, becoming smooth, basalt rock.

There are various explanations for how the Man in the Moon came to be. A longstanding European tradition holds that the man was banished to the moon for some crime. Christian lore commonly held that he is the man described in the bible (book of Numbers XV.32-36), caught gathering sticks on the Sabbath and sentenced by God to death by stoning.

There is also a traditional belief that the Man in the Moon enjoyed drinking, especially claret. An old ballad runs (original spelling):

Our man in the moon drinks clarret,
With powder-beef, turnep, and carret.
If he doth so, why should not you
Drink until the sky looks blew?

In the English Middle Ages and renaissance, the moon was held to be the god of drunkards, and at least three London taverns were named “The Man in the Moone”

Find out more here.