PDP Exclusives by Rebecca

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Before there was Christmas lights people lit luminarias.

And they still do here where I live in the Southwest! One of the more awesome things to do here come Christmas Eve is to go on one of a few different luminaria tours around Albuquerque.

So what are they exactly? The story as it has been told by me is that for hundreds of years the faithful here in the southwest light bags lining the path to their house to welcome the Christ child.
Depending on who you talk to there are two words for this, luminaria or farolitos. Basically meaning little fires in spanish. They are lunch bags with a sand layer at the bottom and a votive candle inside.
I myself am not of this faith but I have always found them beautiful and captivating and even took to decorating my house Christmas eve with them as well. Most of the roof tops here are flat as well so some people also line their whole yard, paths, roof and drive way.
This often becomes the day you talk to your neighbors most as if you live in a largely hispanic neighborhood like I do everyone else will be outside that day preparing. During the day you start out by folding the edges of the bag over. This ensures it does not fold in on itself, then you add a layer of sand and place them however you see fit to space them as along your path. Then to insure your candle will light when dusk comes you actually pre light all the candles to make sure the first layer of wax is off the wick and it is ready to go.
As soon as the sun goes down most people shut off all the lights in their house, put on something warm, take something warm to drink with them then venture out into the hood and walk house to house enjoying the ambiance that the luminarias give on this one night of the year.

Wenchkin is an amazing artist, specializing in muerto-inspired drawings, and thick black outlines. You can find her on Google+, on Facebook, or you can shop her ArtFire shop! She currently resides in Albuquerque with artist Scott Krichau, and their tripod Jack Russell "P."

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