Luminaria Information

A humble craft transforms Albuquerque and the Southwest each Christmas Eve.

old town

What are Luminarias?

Luminarias are brown paper bags containing votive candles for light and sand for weight. Every Christmas Eve, thousands of them line the streets of Albuquerque with their low, ethereal light.

Luminarias have been a New Mexican tradition for generations.

Making Luminarias


  • Paper lunch bags
  • Votive candles
  • Sand
  • Utility lighter or fireplace match

To make luminarias:

  1. Fold down the top inch of the paper lunch bag to create a lip
  2. Add enough sand to hold the bag down
  3. Add a votive candle, standing it on the center of the sand
  4. Use a fireplace match or utility lighter to light it