Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Long before there were twinkling Christmas lights, the humble luminaria paper bags, filled with some sand and a candle in the middle, lit the way to the door of houses each Christmas Eve.

New Mexico’s luminarias are part of a southwestern tradition that has its roots in the 1500s, when bonfires were lit along roadways to light the way to midnight mass. They started as a Christian tradition, commemorating the birth of Christ, and the journey of Mary and Joseph as they found their way to the stable.

In the early 1800s, people began to use inexpensive paper bags instead of building bonfires. These small lanterns (called farolitos in northern New Mexico), have become a Christmas Eve tradition.

On Christmas Eve night I participated in a New Mexico holiday tradition and visited an area known as “Old Town” in Albuquerque. Below are photos of the luminaria lights and Christmas Eve performance.

Luminaria lights – paper bags filled with sand and a candle.

Sand and candle.

San Felipe de Neri Church is a historic Catholic church located in Old Town. Built in 1793, it is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Albuquerque.

San Felipe de Neri Church’s performance of Jesus’ birth.

Goats were part of the performance.

Permed to Natural wishes you all the Pleasures of the Holidays – filled with Warmth and Blessed by Peace!

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