Updated: Friday, 25 Dec 2009, 6:16 PM MST
Published : Friday, 25 Dec 2009, 6:16 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It’s a condition of the tradition and it always comes on Christmas Day dawning in the aftermath of Albuquerque's annual luminaria tour.
“That's a tradition that none of the traffic comes back for,” Thomas Jaramillo told KRQE News 13 as he cleaned up his luminarias Friday.
By one estimate 40,000 of the little paper bags holding sand and illuminated by a votive candle were place around Old Town and the nearby Country Club neighborhood on Christmas Eve. That drew city buses carrying paid patrons and slow-moving lines of passenger vehicles.
The luminarias, also called farolitos, are an old New Mexico tradition and are laid out on Christmas Eve to light the way for the Christ child.
Jaramillo said the tour turnout was good despite the cold weather.
The wind did create some issues, though, even if the sand managed to hold the luminarias in place.
“There was lot of them that were blowing out this year and causing little tiny fires,” Jaramillo explained.
All around southwest Albuquerque’s Country Club neighborhood people spent Christmas morning tidying up.
“We get up, and before the grandkids come over we pick up the luminarias," Lawton Davis said. "It's just part of living here."
Davis saw plenty of car and foot traffic this year.
“Some years it's busy, some years it's not, but I think this was a really successful this year,” he said.
The busy streets didn’t sit well with everyone whose home was part of the tour.
“The last thing it was was peaceful," Ignacio Salazar told News 13. "The last thing we had was serenity; we had none of that.
“What we did have was a lot of noise, a bunch of stinky fumes, a lot of irritated people, and I don't think anybody got to enjoy it for what it's supposed to be.”
The New Mexico tradition is a big draw, however, and something people like Thomas Jaramillo look forward to every year.
“We like doing it, the neighbors really enjoy it, it's a great time for us, too,” Jaramillo said.
This year was a popular one. All six city shuttles sold out well before Christmas Eve.
Clear Channel Radio helped out by sponsoring the luminaria tour with the city.