Christmas Eve Luminarias in ABQ

December 26th, 2012 at 1:14 pm by under Face of Fox

It is one of the most beautiful times of year in Albuquerque, as the streets are lined up with luminarias (or farolitos, depending where your from). One of the best places to view the luminarias is Old Town, and to many families it is a tradition to walk the streets of old town and really take in the lanterns.

I got the opportunity to be part of that action, and captured alot of great photos…

Sidewalks were shining bright  in Old Town as the houses around the main square were illuminated by luminarias.


Here you see strangers coming together to make little Choirs in the Main Square to sing Christmas Carols.

Here is one of the narrow alleyways of Old Town, beautifully decorated with an arrangement of Christmas lights and luminarias.

This was a bright Xmas tree made of all recycled water bottles!

Here I am in one of the shops getting my sombrero on!

This was a first! Multicolored luminarias. It was cool to see all those colors glow at night, sort of like Lite-Brite’s.

Overall, it was a beautiful night in Old Town, and a great way to start off the Christmas celebration.

The Age Old Question: Luminaria or Farolito?

December 5th, 2012 at 3:06 pm by under Face of Fox

With the holiday season among us, we have to once again address the friendly debate of “Luminarias vs Farolitos?”

In one of the greatest New Mexico traditions there has always been this ongoing debate. The contentious issue is what to call those pretty little lights in paper sacks that are all around town. Some call them “Farolitos” and others call them “Luminarias”. This issue is almost discussed as much as the state question, “Red or Green”. It has been said that traditionally Northern New Mexicans refer to them as Farolitos where Southern New Mexicans call the lights Luminarias.

Farolito directly translated from Spanish means “little lantern” and closely related to the word Farolillo, which refers to the traditional lanterns hanging above the streets during fiestas and verbenas. The English translation for Luminaria is an illumination, which ambiguously could mean any type of illumination, and many New Mexicans believe it to be the proper term due to its tie to the Christian Christmas tradition.

Northerners will say that the paper sacks are farolitos and only refer to luminarias when talking about festival bonfires. As it may seem, both terms seem appropriate depending on who you talk to.

But it is interesting to note that this debate has been highlighted for many years even outside the state of New Mexico. I found an article talking about this dating all the way back to1965 from the Milwaukee Journal! Check it out by clicking here.

Regardless of where you are from, or what you call it, we can all be proud of this old and beautiful New Mexico tradition! With that being said, whats your tradition? luminaria or farolito?