Albuquerque families keep Christmas Eve luminaria tradition aglow

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s an experience Albuquerque families look forward to all year long; when luminarias light up the night on Christmas Eve.

From filling the paper bags with sand to carefully spacing them out, everyone has their own process. For many people in the country club area, putting out luminarias is a family tradition that’s been passed down through the generations.

“My parents moved to New Mexico 20 years ago. I’ve been back almost every Christmas to do it,” Storey Clayton said.

Storey Clayton says the preparation alone takes quite a while before he even sets up.

“I try to set a new record every year or get close every year, so usually it’s over 1,000. We made 1,250 but we’re hoping for the best,” he said.

Meanwhile, for Lourdes Martinez, she does everything on her own.

“I usually do it every year. My parents help me a little bit sometimes, but other than that I do it usually all by myself,” Martinez said.

She places hundreds of luminarias around the park across from her parents’ home.

“It’s pretty fun. It’s a lot of work but at the end, it’s really rewarding,” she said.

Tuesday night, hundreds of people will come out to see the display throughout the neighborhood, which makes this labor of love all worthwhile.

“It’s a beautiful tradition, it’s my favorite holiday tradition and I really fell in love with it when I moved to New Mexico. There’s nothing like it,” Clayton said.

For those who did not snag tickets to Tuesday night’s bus tour through the country club neighborhood and Old Town, people are welcome to take in the display on foot or by car.

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