Luminaries

One of the loveliest of candle customs alive in our country is the lighting of luminaries on Christmas Eve. It plays an important part in the tradition of lighting the way for the Christ child. Cliff and Maude Hollister, who resided at 107 Ixora Way, introduced this beautiful custom to Hawthorne at Christmastime in 1975. I am sure they would be proud to know that forty-five years later the tradition they started continues.

What is a luminary? A luminary is created by folding down the top of a paper bag to make a cuff to stiffen the bag. The bottom of the bag is filled with about two inches of sand. The candle is secured in the sand so it will not tip over. Some people place the candle in an empty tuna can (with the sand) inside the bag. When lighted the candle flame is protected from the wind by the bag. The candles are lit at dusk on Christmas Eve. The candles slowly burn down and are finally extinguished by the sand.

The flickering lights glowing through the paper bag creates a feeling of reverence throughout the night. If you are new to our Hawthorne community, be prepared to witness an awe-inspiring sight.

A luminary “kit” consists of eight (8) white paper bags, eight (8) candles and the required sand. It is suggested to place the luminaries about four to five feet (4-5’) apart on the street about a foot from the curb. If you live on a corner lot, it is recommended to purchase two (2) kits. The cost of a kit is $6.00.

Hawthorne’s AARP Chapter 1775 has been selling luminaries for over twenty-seven years as a fundraiser. There are many worthy programs here in our community that benefit from this effort.

If you are not going to be here for Christmas this year, please have a neighbor or a friend put the luminaries out at your home.

Questions? Contact Butch or Jane Litchtenberger for more information.