Christmas Eve Luminaria


The Christmas Eve Luminaria is a beautiful tradition that the BCO would like to invite all residents and business owners in the Hamlet and environs to participate in. The more who participate, the more of a sight it will be; it makes Christmas Eve that much more special! It’s great to get out as a family with friends, enjoy the sight and meet your neighbours during the holiday season.

For 2014, this year’s display will extend further along River Road in honour of those we have lost this year, Frank and Silvia Schenk, and Alan Seymour. Come join us for a walk the length of the Road Christmas Eve.

The luminaria ( custom is New World Hispanic, originating in the U.S. states of New Mexico, Arizona and west Texas where luminarias are made from brown paper bags weighted down with sand and illuminated from within by a lit candle and traditionally displayed on Christmas Eve. These are typically arranged in rows to create large and elaborate displays and into residents’ driveways. The hope among Christian believers is that the lights will guide the spirit of the Christ child to one’s home. In recent times they are seen more as a secular decoration, akin to holiday lights, and have gained popularity in other parts of the country.

White lunch bags are available for $1 for 20 via:

  • the Christmas Pot Luck
  • Higher Ground
  • 519 316 0222 or 519 927 5558
  • or

Here are a few suggested guidelines about how to create your display:

  • use lunch-sized square / box bottomed white paper bakery bags (size #6 or #8), preferably white, but brown will do if one has too;
  • dump a couple of inches or 5cm of kitty litter or sand in the bottom;
  • insert half an emergency candle, an old candle (either preferable), or tea light into the kitty litter or sand; (note the battery powered tea lights do not seem to last long in the cold)
  • up to you, but placing the bags about 3m or 10′ feet apart, along the roadside snow bank out in front of your property, produces a nice effect;
  • light the candles with a fireplace torch, by 6 PM;
  • and finally, hope for good weather and enjoy.

Here are some tricks to render your luminaria a little more robust, and longer lasting with a bigger impact:

  • use larger, stubbier candles;
  • fashion half milk cartons inserts for rigidity of form- glass mason jars (with the candle inside of course) also work very well;
  • create little knee walls in the side of the snow bank, they not only provide some shelter from the wind, but reflect the candle light back onto the street;
  • fold the top 1 inch of the bag back is also good;
  • and for the ultimate, one resident even fabricated metal frames for the bags. It’s fun, really, and very beautiful and meaningful…

5 Responses to Christmas Eve Luminaria

  1. Charles Bennett says:

    We also lit the candles on Christmas Day as well. It as beautiful.

  2. Charles Bennett says:

    I made an error on my address. We are 953 Forks of The Credit. I typed 943 (in the dark)
    Charles Bennett

  3. Charles Bennett says:

    Are you doing the luminaria this year. We have always done it at 943 Forks Of The Credit
    Charles Bennett

    • darryl says:

      Hi Charles,
      For sure, bigger and better.
      More details will be coming out in this week’s edition of The View from Belfountain newsletter!

  4. Kurt Zwingli says:

    Thank you so much to include River Road in your Christmas Eve Luminaria. I was first introduced to the Luminaria in San Antonio in 1995, where the City places these bag all along the “Riverwalk” a path along the river canal in the downtown core. What a beautiful site to see.
    I know Sylvia my sister would have loved to see the bags all along River Road to her and Frank’s place. After telling her that in 2012 I was talking my wife down to San Antonio to see the Luminaria along Riverwalk, she said we do this all the time in Belfountain.
    Thank so much of thinking of Sylvia and Frank and I’m so sorry to miss this.
    Kurt Zwingli
    Kamloops, BC

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