Mount Davidson cross lights up SF for 98th Easter despite cancelled sunrise service due to COVID-19

Dustin Dorsey Image
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Mt. Davidson cross lights up San Francisco for 98th Easter
In 1923, an Easter tradition was born on the top of Mount Davidson in San Francisco. Nearly 100 years later, volunteers continue to light the cross to help usher in the Easter holiday.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- To commemorate the Easter Holiday, the more than one-hundred foot cross on Mt. Davidson in San Francisco lights up the sky the night before.

The tradition is nearly 100 years old, but the pandemic has forced some changes to the plans.

Things may be different, but the message remains the same.

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At the highest point in the city by the Bay, a beacon of light ushers in Easter.

The lighting of the Mt. Davidson Cross, a nearly 100 year old tradition lives on.

"I think it has always been about a positive gathering of people to welcome Easter morning," Local historian Jacquie Proctor said. "It started at 5,000 in 1923, but by the time this cross was built in the middle of the depression in 1934, it was 50,000 people."

In 2021, there may be less people around, but the views of the Bay Area surrounding the cross never lose their glory.

Volunteers have visited this iconic peak for 98 years to light up the mountain side for one of the Christian religion's holiest of holidays.

The Mt. Davidson Cross Armenian Council continues the tradition today with this beautiful display of hope and peace.

"Armenians are really into tradition," Mt. Davidson Cross Armenian Council Chairman Sevag Kevranian said. "32 Armenian organizations came together to preserve this Mt. Davidson Cross monument in order to keep the tradition alive in San Francisco, where we've all made this our second home."

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COVID-19 may not have stopped the lights, but it did force a change here at Mount Davidson for the second year in a row.

Despite churches preparing for masses tomorrow, the sunrise service here Easter morning remains cancelled.

"An organizer, he put it so well, he said, 'with our obligation to love our neighbor, it was the prudent decision to cancel the event'," Kevranian said. "We'll still continue the tradition, Easter is still happening, we'll still continue the sunrise services in the future, but let's make sure we are all protected."

The cross is lit only two nights a year, April 24 to mark Armenian Genocide Memorial Day and tonight, the night before Easter.

In the middle of a pandemic, a sign of hope shining in the night.