This time of year the crafty and creative minds abound. You see decorations that look like a craft wizard fabricated them — and usually overnight. But you think “it would take me weeks to do that.” And the expense! Who has that kind of money?
Old World Charm to line your walkways
Sometimes the cleverest ideas come from Old World history.
A simple idea that was practical back then is just as practical today. Case in point, the simple light from a luminaria. The charm of these outdoor candles come from as far back as the age of the Pharaohs. You might think it was the Spanish – Latin influences that prompted Mexican cultures to use them for commemorative events or for lining the paths to a family cemetery. You would be wrong.
We think of them as a décor item for the Holidays. Although that’s true, other holidays enjoy the radiant décor, too. When masses were conducted in Mexico, often an evening procession would be led by altar boys carrying lanterns on long canes. Once a long procession arrived at the church or an arranged location, luminarias would be placed along their walkway so no one would stumble or walk on the grave sites or the offering placed on the ground.
Luminarias, as simple as placing a votive candle into a paper lunch sack weighted down with an inch or so of native dirt or sand, have been used throughout history in a variety of ways. Easter candles are often placed on the altars but also as a colorful attractant to guide people to their church. Fourth of July celebrations use luminarias along a shoreline, in a park or along pathways. Many times floating lanterns limb into the sky — these are luminarias with a helium balloon or a sack tied up-side down. The hot air is trapped allowing it to rise into the night skies. Luminarias are used during October’s Halloween events and on porches to add a bit of scary lighting to a dull porch.
Since the glow of a simple candle can take on the shape of a large bag or jar, its brightness subdued yet its light travels very far in its defused state.
Luminarias are made from brown paper, reused grocery sacks, empty glass jar, tall tins with punched holes to let out light, pumpkins and gourds, and even small ceramic pots. As a modern version of this candle, PVC water pipe can be used with small drill holes placed in a pattern just like the punched tin.
As long as the wind cannot disrupt the flame, and the light and heat can escape, the luminaria can be placed on steps, in driveways, lining sidewalks, atop walls, and roof lines, creating a path, or any number of uses.
Let us know if you see any luminarias this season. Just drop us a comment.