Creating Traditional Paper Lanterns for the Holidays
There is an ERROR in this article.
As stated in the article, "luminarias were small bonfires of crisscrossed piñon branches which were built in three-foot high squares". This is still a tradition in the Southwest/New Mexico to light "the way for the Christ child".
However, the article goes on to explain how to "Make the most simple, traditional luminarias with brown or white paper lunch bags." This is the ERROR because the name of these "brown or white paper lunch bags" is actually “farolito”...whereas “luminaria” are the small stacks of firewood.
“The FAROLITOS are the candles inside of a bag,” said Damian Wilson, Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of New Mexico. “But a luminaria is a stack of wood where you stack it, two by two to create sort of a tower…”
By definition, the root word, Farol is a lantern, therefore a 'small lantern' would be a farolito. So why call a little lantern a bonfire? 😏
“LUMINARIAS, we always save the very special firewood for luminarias,” said Enrique Lamadrid, an American historian in the US state of New Mexico, known for his studies of Chicano, Mexican American, and Hispano culture. He is Professor Emeritus for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at University of New Mexico... “It’s stacked, a little stack in squares, it’s laid up on squares and the average height can be three, three and a half feet.”
Did he just say firewood squares stacked three feet high? That’s right, officially in the Spanish language, a LUMINARIA is actually a bonfire. A FAROLITO is a small lantern (or bag of sand with a candle).
These are the traditions which tie in with Christmas celebrations in the northern part of the state.
Consider using bird seed instead of sand for home luminaries. Has worked very well for my daughter who participates in her neighborhood's luminarias in Westchester County, NY. The birds appreciate this Christmas Eve gift. Obviously, if you are planning a very large display, using birdseed could be expensive and impractical. Happy Holidays.
Or just use an old bait can.The holes are already there
in a beautiful pattern and they are so nostalgic.