Electric Christmas luminaries are continually gaining in popularity. They’re especially valued as a representation of the traditional guiding lights of welcome during the holiday season
This Christmas decorating tradition has its roots in Spanish culture, which in turn borrowed inspiration from the use of paper lanterns in Chinese and Japanese celebrations. Today, this longtime practice for holiday lighting is safer and more manageable, thanks to the introduction of electric luminarias.
The electric variation on Christmas luminaries is safe for indoor use and convenient for outdoor use alongside driveways, walkways, and any other location. These beautiful, illuminating bags provide the perfect decorative touch and a warm welcome to your guests. Electronic holiday luminaries are a simpler alternative to traditional luminary candles.
Electric Holiday Luminarias in Spanish And Southwestern Traditions
Electric luminarias are also known as farolitos, which is a Spanish term meaning “little lanterns.” What began as a Spanish Christmastime tradition is now a beloved worldwide practice used for all sorts of special occasions and events. Today, luminarias are a common sight lining driveways, walkways, porches, patios, and other sites at holiday, wedding, and other celebrations.
Christmas luminaries have a lengthy history that began with religious tradition in Spain. The word “luminarias” means “small bonfires” in Spanish, and the first known use of the concept dates back to the 1500s. Spaniards lit bonfires along the roadsides to lead churchgoers to Midnight Mass on the last night of Las Posadas, the nine-day celebration that begins on December 16th and leads up to Christmas. The illumination of the paths were a representation of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodgings in Bethlehem, and it also signified lighting the way for Christ’s arrival and a spiritual illumination.
In the early 1800s, this tradition made its way to the Santa Fe Trail with Spanish settlers. They used decorative Chinese-style paper lanterns to light up their entranceways. The practice also spread to Mexican Indians via missionaries from Spain, who lit paper lanterns nine nights in a row in observance of Las Posadas.
In contemporary practice, luminary bags light up windows, driveways, sidewalks, walkways, rooftops and other sites on and around Christmas. They serve literally and metaphorically as guiding lights to usher travelers safely to their holiday destinations. Wherever they’re used, electric luminaries represent welcome and warm gatherings of family and friends.
Traditional luminarias aren’t electric, but are paper bags with sand and votive candles inside. Modern electrically operated variations are an easy-to-use alternative for people in windy or snowy environments, and for people who prefer the safer alternative of light bulbs to flames.