Here in the American Southwest, there’s a tradition of visiting the graves of loved ones on Christmas Eve. In Catholic cemeteries, the night of December 24 is the busiest time of the year for visitors, rivaling even Memorial Day.
Graves are decorated with lights of varying types. The most simple and beautiful lights are created by lunch sack-sized paper bags with sand weighting the bottom and anchoring a single votive candle. When hundreds of graves are lined with thousands of luminarias, the result is a peaceful, glowing field of love.
Here’s a video that shows the scope of the luminaria display in the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Albuquerque, NM. The poem recited is “Winter Solstice” by Isaac C. Eastvold, copyright 2009, used with permission.
In this video, the family pulled out all the stops with their decorations – a small tree, an illuminated snowman and recorded music.
After visiting the cemetery and remembering loved ones no longer here, favorite foods to feast upon at home include tamales, posole, biscochitos, and red or green chile. Some people will even bring food to the cemetery to eat and drink while visiting loved ones’ graves.
However you celebrate, wishing you and yours a warm and loving holiday.