A little history on the luminary
Several variations of the luminary exist, but the one people are most familiar with is the one that contains a light source – usually a candle – inside a plain or decorated small paper bag. You probably know what luminaries look like, but did you know that not all of the United States calls them by the same name?
In parts of New Mexico, for instance, they’re generally referred to as farolitos. This name is common in Santa Fe and other northern areas of the state. Farolito means “little lantern” in Spanish, and luminary, or luminaria, means “festival light.” Traditionally, the term luminaria was used in reference to a vigil bonfire, though it’s primarily northern New Mexicans who have kept this distinction.
But whether you call it a farolito or a luminaria, it’s beautiful to look at and easy to make. LumaBase has luminary kits that give you a simple way to create lovely lighting all around your home. Just about everybody loves making a luminary, especially during the Christmas season.
People were celebrating with luminaries long before luminary kits were invented, however. The original way these lights were made is similar to how they’re made today: people would put sand in the bottom of a sack and insert a candle into the sand, which held the candle in place.
Early on, when used in Christmas celebrations, the Roman Catholic Church believed the lights would guide the spirit of the Christ child to people’s homes. These days luminaries are thought of more in the way people think of Christmas lights – something pretty and decorative to look at.
Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as other parts of the state are well-known for their elaborate holiday lighting displays, which almost always include farolitos. Neighborhoods in some smaller towns feature blocks-long displays in front of people’s homes of Christmas figures like Santa, reindeer, sleighs, snowmen and the like.
In West Valley, Utah, the luminary is also popular. More than 300 of them are used to light the path on the first Monday in December during the annual Walk with Santa event. The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life events will often have luminaries placed around the walking track.
As you can see, luminaries are popular in many places and are used in many ways. LumaBase would love to give you some great ideas for using these pretty light sources during the holidays and show you our wide selection of luminaries and accessories. Stop by and see us. You can also call (610) 524-9559, or visit us on our website.