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Farolito or Paper Luminaria, Courtesy & Thanks to Wikipedia



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Not to be confused with Luminaria (vigil fire).

 A typical luminaria display in Albuquerque, New Mexico

luminaria is a small light or lantern (commonly a candle set in some sand inside a paper bag) which is of significance among New WorldHispanics at Christmas time. These luminarias are often called luminarias, and to some extent have replaced the older tradition of the luminaria vigil fire with which they became confused.

A different form of luminaria, a small torch or large candle, is carried by the leader of the procession of Las Posadas[1] a nine-day holiday running December 16–24.

Christmas tradition

Traditional Christmas Eve luminarias are made from brown paper bags weighted down with sand and illuminated from within by a lit candle. These are typically arranged in rows to create large and elaborate displays. The hope among Roman Catholics is that the lights will guide the spirit of the Christ child to one's home.

In recent times they are seen more as a secular decoration, akin to Christmas lights. Strings of artificial luminarias, with plastic bags illuminated by small light bulbs and connected by an electrical cord, are also available, and are common in the American Southwest, where they are typically displayed throughout the year-end holiday season. These are beginning to gain popularity in other parts of the United States.[2]

Santa Fe and Old Town AlbuquerqueNew Mexico, are well known for their impressive Christmas Eve luminaria displays.[3]

In some Southwestern states, such as ArizonaTexas as well as New Mexico, luminarias are also occasionally used as Halloween decorations, sometimes featuring Jack o' lantern faces drawn on the paper bags.[4] Artificial luminarias are increasingly available with holiday themed decorative patterns and in colors other than brown.

In West Valley City, Utah, luminarias are used to light the path during the Walk with Santa held the first Monday of December every year. The display features over 300 luminarias.

The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life fundraising events which are held all over the US feature luminaria ceremonies. luminarias are placed around the track and some relay events spell out "HOPE" in stadium stands with luminarias.

After the 2008 city hall shooting in Kirkwood, Missouri, residents lined the streets with luminarias to honor the victims of the shooting.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Overnight uses luminaria at the end of the overnight walk to memorialize those lost to suicide for survivors.

And here's an interesting article about the correct spelling of Luminaria. http://blogs.fredericksburg.com/theredpen/2012/05/23/one-luminaria-many-luminarias/



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