Friday, December 7, 2012

A Night Filled With Light

Looking into a candlebaggio

December may be my favorite time in New Mexico. It seems as though the month isn't long enough for all the festivities. This year we started the pre-Christmas celebrations by going to Noche de Luminarias at the New Mexico State University with a group of good friends. 

To give you a little background: In northern New Mexico, a luminaria is a little bonfire, lit to welcome and guide the spirit of the Christ Child during the nights leading up to Christmas. Up there around Santa Fe, farolito is the name given to a little paper bag holding sand and a candle; down here in the southern part of the state we call the candle-in-a-bag a luminaria. Our friend, Lou, has simplified the matter by calling them candlebaggios, and many of our friends have adopted the term (see Those Little Whatcha-Call 'Ems). 

The local high school band members lit 6500 luminarias all over the NMSU campus, and a back-breaking business it must have been. By the time we arrived, the sun was just going down and we watched and strolled as the sky darkened and the luminarias began to glow.

Inside the student center, there was music and dancing and food. Outside, it was quiet and quite warm for early December. We walked and chatted and took pictures, and eventually made our way along the paths to the duck pond, where the early evening sky and reflecting waters made for some great photo opportunities.

For some really lovely shots, check out our friend Patrick's post on the evening, Noche de Luminarias.


Joyful said...

Enjoyed this post, and your friend's post. I think it is a wonderful tradition. I'm always amazed that the paper bags don't catch fire.

clairz said...

Penny, I am surprised I didn't catch myself on fire. I was pretty engrossed with looking around (and not where I was going) and stepped on one of the poor luminarias!

Kate said...

Good morning, Claire; I just read your message on my blog. Love all your luminarias (and your friend's link). I'm one of the few MN families that have lumninarias lining my walk and driveway at Christmas. Can't resist them. I may order some from electric ones from Target this year, but still haven't decided if I will. Better make a decision before they're all gone. Have a wonderful week-end!

Linda Wildenstein said...

It is funny that upstate called them something different than the south does...but then the same thing applies to sopapillas....upstate with the meal, down south a dessert. Tomato, tomato.
The light from the miriade candles in a bag is just heartwarmingly beautiful and truly unexplainable to someone who hasn't just stood in the quiet night and taken it all matter what they are called.

clairz said...

Kate, glad to hear that you are keeping your Southwest memories alive up there. We have some of the electric candlebaggios to line up on adobe walls here.

Linda, thank you for your lovely comment. Do you still have your blog? I used to be able to click on your name and get to it, but now that click just takes me to a bunch of google gobbledegook.

Nan said...

There aren't words to describe how very beautiful, and moving these pictures are.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Beautiful Clair...I love this tradition. Your night photos are excellent@

becky said...

Hi Clair.
I love them, no matter what you call them! It makes the season all the more festive. We got about 4-6 inches of snow in town on Sunday. Still chilly during the day, so it has not all melted yet. I should get out & take some pics. Hope you're staying warm this December! :)