Sunday, December 22, 2013

4th Sunday of "How do you Celebrate".............

It just shouldn't, couldn't, wouldn't be Christmas without farolitos or lumiarias, little brown paper bags with about an inch of sand with a lit votive candle left to burn itself out on Christmas Eve. The "fire" is said to light the way for all to find the Christ child." All over the southwest you can find places that use the little fires as the name indicates.


The history of the little fires is in question. Some say it was the Chinese influence on the Mexican peoples that brought the little paper lanterns into play. Others say it was the French and their papier bags used to light up their parties at night when they occupied Mexico City that gave us the luminarias.


Whatever or where ever they came from it is just a magickal sight to see them by the thousands as candles are lit and people take the walks through them. I have been putting out these little fires ever since I was a small child.


We lived in the south valley of Albuquerque in the Country Club area. Every Christmas eve people from all over the city would come into our neighborhood by the carloads to see that almost every house within a 5 mile area had outlined their front yards with these golden glowing bags. We sometimes couldn't get out of our driveway for a very long time because the traffic was that heavy.


The candles we used back then, we lit by 4pm and lasted until the wee hours of the night and that was the time that they were the most magical. Santa always found his way to my house because my brother and I put an X in the backyard made of the luminarias so that Santa knew we were expecting him. Or so my brother told me. Going out to see how many of the lights were still burning, in the morning was so much fun. Once we had one last until noon. Just the perfect situation, I guess.


I still get a tickle in my stomach when we light the farolitos. Putting them out is also part of getting ready for Christmas eve. It is a bit of work, but well work the effort. Once you have seen the warm, welcoming glow you will never forget how strange it is that paper lunch bags rolled down twice, with an inch of sand in the bottom and a lit votive candle when multiplied, can be so breathtakingly beautiful. There is a sound, like a snowfall, that comes with all the candles burning as well. Magic.


Merry Christmas to all of you.

12 comments:

  1. I love this post!
    This is something completely different for Christmas, something that looks like a Mexican summer fiesta to a Swede like me :) But I can imagine what a lovely cozy glow they give off, and how it's like 'Instant Christmas' for you guys.

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  2. The inability to light many farolitos is one of the things I dislike about apartment living. We light a few in the terrace, but you know it's not the same thing.

    These images are wonderful, Oma Linda. The one with the ladder leaning on the adobe house makes me want to sing a bit.

    Happy Holidays!

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  3. Wonderful tradition. Magical. Merry Christmas.

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  4. We have an annual luminaria event here in Edmonton on the first weekend of every December. Luminaria are set up to outline all the walkways and paths of our local Japanese Gardens. Soooooo beautiful! If it's a mild winter night, the crowds can be almost too big. But crowds are smaller when it's freezing!

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  5. I love learning about the holiday traditions of different people. This all looks so beautiful, much better than Christmas lights made in China.

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  6. I enjoyed this Linda. Thanks. Now if I remember next year I'll light some on the solstice.

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  7. They are absolutely wonderful and so much nicer that stung up electric lights. They are warm and welcoming. I may try that next year. Love this post.

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  8. What a lovely idea! Alas, it wouldn't work here, mainly due to the pishing rain and howling gales o.O

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  9. Unfortunately we could not do this here as we have so much snow, and winter winds - we might get em up n lit, but they would soon disappear - what a absolutely lovely tradition - so very beautiful - love this post Oma :)

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  10. Wow! I love these, we couldn't possibly have such things in Wales.
    In fact it's pouring with rain and blowing a gale as I type.

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  11. I too enjoyed the photo of the luminarias lining the ladder to the roof line. How beautiful and calming it must be to wander the streets of Burq in the warm glow of candlelight.

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  12. This is so beautiful Oma Linda! I have never seen anything like this before! Maybe I should start a new tradition ;o) Big Hugs ;o)

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