Society hopes luminarias start new holiday tradition

Residents invited to gather on Christmas Eve to line North Broadway with lights


Members of the Clintonville Historical Society are hoping to establish something for the future come Christmas Eve.

The society hopes to launch a new tradition by adding on to an existing one with a display of luminarias along West North Broadway, extending the display put on during the holidays by members of the North Broadway Street Association along East North Broadway.

The historical society's portion of the display will place the lighted candles in sand-weighted paper bags along Memory Lane, the growing number of gardens along that stretch of North Broadway commemorating the neighborhood's past.

The luminarias grew out of ideas society members tossed around for starting a new holiday tradition, said President Mary Rodgers.

"As we continued to kind of work through it, we thought this would be kind of a fun thing to incorporate into the Memory Lane programming," she said. "This could be a great winter celebration of that area. This certainly seemed like a good one.

"I think it will be a fairly well-received thing. I don't know how quickly it will catch on."

Rodgers said she isn't certain how many people will turn up in the Kroger parking lot at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 24, to distribute the 830 luminarias along West North Broadway.

"I think it's a great opportunity to actually start a celebration," Rodgers said.

The gathering will include some caroling and hot chocolate will be available, she added.

Luminarias derive from an ancient Spanish tradition of lighting bonfires along roads and churchyards to guide people to Mass on the final night of the nine-day Las Posadas celebration.

North Broadway, both east and west, fits that bill nicely, Rodgers said, making it an ideal location for a luminaria display.

"All paths will lead to a house of worship, as you're supposed to do with luminaria," she said. "Since there are so many houses of worship in the immediate area, I think it will be a nice tie-in.

"I have calls in to everybody and we're trying to rally a crowd," she said. "As many people as show up, we will have jobs for them."