REPOST: 6. The Heart of the Season: Celebrating the Season with Light…New Mexico Luminarias

(First annual repost , most likely! …with an additional photo )

Happy Holidays to All!

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Although I really don’t celebrate Christmas in a “traditional” way, I do love the lights of the season!  I put up some lights on my little tree out front and enjoy all the displays in the neighborhood.  One in particular is very spectacular this year, in the sidestreet across from me. One house has a great display of  luminaries around its  entire roofline, similiar to what you can see in the first picture below.

From the New Mexico Tourist Board:

Farolitos and Luminarias — a New Mexico Tradition

The beautiful glow illuminating New Mexico’s walkways during the holiday season comes from “farolitos” also called “luminarias” (depending on where you are—north or south). This New Mexico tradition began over 300 years ago when the Spanish villages along the Rio Grande displayed the unique and easy to make Christmas lanterns to light up the dark winter nights. A traditional farolito is made up of a brown paper bag, folded at the top, and partially filled with sand. A lit votive candle placed on top of the sand in the bag creates a warm holiday glow.

Many towns and pueblos hold celebrations and light the luminarias/farolitos on Christmas Eve.  The tradition is also followed throughout the Southwest, as well as parts of California.

Luminarias/Farolitos with Other Lights of the Season

Luminarias/Farolitos with Other Lights of the Season

Old Town Albuquerque Farolitos

"Old Town" Albuquerque Farolitos

(NMSU Noches de Luminarias, here in Las Cruces. Pic no longer available)

Acoma Pueblo

Acoma Pueblo (Sky City)

So, enjoy the lights tonight, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, the Solstice of  last weekend, Kwanzaa or simply enjoying your unadorned Festivus pole!!!


UPDATE: Last night’s Christmas Eve (2008) celebration in historic Mesilla….

December 24, 2008

Mesilla Plaza: December 24, 2008

Another view of a Christmas Eve in Mesilla:

32 Responses

  1. IA,

    The pictures are beautiful. Thank you.

    One year when we arrived at our church for the Christmas Eve services we were amazed to find the walkway to the church lined with luminarias. Our then Pastor and his wife had spent hours preparing this beautiful scene to greet their congregation. It was beautiful, and appreciated by all.

  2. The tradition has spread, from what I read. Even at Civil War battlefields….

  3. I have been to the Acoma Pueblo!!!

    Our neighborhood does the candles in the bags with sand on Christmas Eve. Tonight it rained, so I guess they will have to do it tomorrow. We have been doing it for many years. (We are in a little town in Pennsylvania.)

  4. Lucky you, Fran! I haven’t gotten to the Acoma Pueblo yet, though I’ve been to Taos Pueblo.

    Yes, I did see a piece in passing about all the places luminaries have spread to, and I do recall some in PA.

    Never saw them in Jersey before I left 8 years ago, though….

  5. Wow! Thank you for this! I didn’t know of this tradition and it’s a beautiful sight! Merry Christmas to you!

  6. I have seen luminarias before but never in such profusion as in your wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    I am wondering why I couldn’t start a tradition of doing some here in Wisconsin. Of course right now they would be under about 2 foot of snow but this year is the exception, not the rule.

  7. Oh, WOW, Grl -what a WONDERFUL tradition! The photos are just lovely – so cool!

    Thank you!!

    Happy Holidays everyone!

  8. Insight and all, many thanks for sharing light filled thoughts and pictures…Light is what it’s all about.

    Blessings upon you all, now and always.

  9. Thanks, TruthisGold…we all need blessing these days….Blessings to you as well!!

  10. These photos are beautiful. Thank you for sharing them.

    I have been to both Acoma and Taos. I also visited Santa Clara and another pueblo when my daughter visited many, many years ago. I felt truly lucky to have been there.

    These luminaria are so welcoming and make me hope for a new year that we can all celebrate.

    I’ll be back to my old sarcastic self in 2009.

  11. One of the largest displays is in the Old Town/ABQ Country Club area of Albu(r)querque. Every year there is a bus tour that sells out.

    What I do NOT like is that some places (e.g. Presbyterian Hospital) started using fake plastic? luminaria lights.

    • EA…I had a video of the ABQ Old Town area which included the BALLOONS glowing!! But in the end I went with the pictures because the video was long and rather “jerky”…like my father’s home movies, moving around in a blur! LOL!

      Oh, those strings of plastic luminarias…they fall down as soon as the slightest breeze comes by. The ones on the house across the street, however, are firmly planted and even in the huge wind we had yesterday, stayed put….and they do look nice…but ONLY if they stand up!! LOL!!!!!!! I’m seeing less of them around this year…people must be giving up on them!

      High school students used to come around and take orders for setting up the real thing as a fundrdaiser, but they didn’t do it this year, at least in my neighborhood…

  12. Me too leslie. I’m just being nice for the Holidays. 😉

  13. Don’t worry ladies – it won’t take long to get you back to your loveable, snarky selves! I’m sure that between the Male Stream Media and PEBO you’ll be accomodated very quickly!

  14. Why, Marge, I hardly recognized you ! 😉

  15. Windy here too, yesterday. I have visited your web cam a couple of times. I saw the red banner whipping around yesterday.

    Snow-covered Sandias today–beautiful.

  16. I guess that was the “ribbon” on the house next door….

  17. Merry X’mas & Happy New Year to you and your family, IA.

    I have enjoyed your blog the past years…great info place!!! Keep up the good work.

    Happy Holidays!!!

  18. Merry X’mas, GG. Hope all’s well with you

  19. Here we are – a year later, but the pictures are just as beautiful. It has been quite a year and we have had many disappointments but now that we are about to take on another chore – VOTING ALL THE BUMS OUT- let’s all work together to this end in our respective states. I love you all and have enjoyed the I group more than I could have imagined.

    • Lee…hard to imagine a year has gone by so fast!

      HMMM…”throw the bums out” –that means NOT VOTING for any of these creeps, Dem or Rethug, because they are all the same!! (Democrats now equal Republicans)


      • Yes, IA, they are one and the same. Same old brand with a different label. This election’s choices will be very difficult to choose, if at all. I say don’t vote for any incumbant whether republican or democrat. I f a god independent comes along, we’ll see.

        I don’t want to see an incumbant get elected by default.

  20. BTW – MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Great repost, G!

    Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season to all of our IA family

  22. Feliz año nuevo.

    • An a Happy New Year to you, too, EA!!!!!!

      PS–Your easy way of packing up roasted chiles is great…so much easier to de-skin a few at a time instead of 25 lbs!!

  23. Just had some chile verde myself! The skin just falls off in big pieces for me. After defrosting, I sauté the chiles in a little olive oil and sprinkle a bit of salt. If I have lemon juice and mint, I add those to the sauté.

    If you haven’t already done it, next year set aside a couple of unroasted green chiles and watch them change colors (truly beautiful). When they are all red and dried out hard, I add them to the little ristra in my kitchen.

    • I do a light fry up of my peppers then add the sweet potatoes and stuff the whole lot into a corn tortilla topped with salsa and a bit of olive oil. That’s my Sunday morning special treat….the rest of the week, I do the same thing but without the peppers!
      Must try your lemon and mint….I have lemons, but no mint at the moment!!

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