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Light Your Luminaria
December 24, 2020 @ 6:00 pm
An illuminating Christmas tradition for many in the US is the use of luminarias to light pathways during the holiday season. Luminarias or farolitos, depending on where you live, are paper bags with lit candles inside. The crafted lights were first used in New Mexico to direct paths to residents’ front doors and the local church on Christmas Eve, showing the way for the Holy Family. Originally, New Mexicans used small bonfires to light the way but after 1872, when the flat-bottom paper bag was invented, they found that a bag weighed down with sand and a candle didn’t take from their firewood and was cheaper than the delicate Chinese paper lanterns. From then on, the modern luminaria was born and the tradition quickly spread throughout the country.
Now, many cities in the US host their own Luminaria festivals to make the days surrounding Christmas merry and bright. So how did the tradition start in Ivyland? It turns out Lincoln Avenue resident Bronwyn “Bonnie” Rowe brought the idea with her when she moved to Ivyland in 1976. Bonnie had seen luminaria displays in Hatboro and thought it would be a wonderful addition to our borough. For years, Bonnie organized the ordering of the bags and candles for all the neighbors who wished to participate and convinced the borough to have sand delivered to the Fire House parking lot for all to use. In recent years, Pat & Phil Klein – also of Lincoln Avenue – have been handling the orders through the now familiar “Luminaria Letter” and coordinating the distribution to participating residents. So when you admire the wondrous spectacle of our candlelit streets on Christmas Eve, you can thank Bonnie and the Kleins for helping make it happen. When to Light. The tradition for the borough has been to light the luminaria on Christmas Eve around 6PM. If the weather is not good, the “raindate” is Christmas Day evening. If you didn’t order your luminaria bags and candles, you can still get them on Amazon. Also, if you have older neighbors, it’s always a kind gesture to put some extras out for them as well. After all, it is the season.
(Sand available at the Fire House)