from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A votive candle a placed in a row with others along a walkway, driveway, or rooftop, as a holiday decoration.


  • Twenty-plus years ago a neighbor visited Mexico and returned to introduce us to a lovely custom called Luminaria. In brown paper bags partially filled with sand or dirt, sturdy cancles were placed (one per bag). On Christmas Eve these bags were placed a few feet apart along the front of our property and up the walk. This, according to the legend, lighted the way for the Christ child to come to us.

    'Luminaria Loses Special Meaning,' Sarasota Herald-Tribune, December 2, 1994

  • Luminaria, meaning little fires, were once small piles of burning pinon wood, but today’s modern version uses candles placed inside brown bags with sand added to the bag for weight and to hold the candle erect.

    'Luminaria Shine on Thursday,' The Journal-News, December 21, 2009


‘Luminaria’ comes from the Latin word for ‘lamp.’