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Borderland Treasure: Luminarias light up Scenic Drive, encourage giving back to the needy

Local Treasure

POSTED: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - 1:14pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - 1:25pm

Christmas in the borderland would not be complete without luminarias.

Thanks to the staff and volunteers with Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, each holiday season, El Pasoans are treated to thousands of luminarias that line the city's popular Scenic Drive.

For the past 21 years in El Paso during the Christmas holiday, hundreds of community volunteers come together with members of El Paso's Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe to prepare for an annual holiday tradition in the city.

It's a time when Scenic Drive in El Paso becomes even more scenic when it is lined with thousands of luminaries.

“To me as a member of La Fe, it is our way of saying thank you to the community for their support for their understanding and for helping our people,” said Jorge Salazar of La Fe.

The day starts early when Salazar, and the rest of the volunteers began to put sand in thousands of small brown paper bags and place a candle inside to create the luminarias.

They also build a nativity scene for all El Pasoans to enjoy and after several hours of hard work.

There is something beautiful about the dark night sky and 4,000 lights guiding your way, you can't ask for more than that,” said volunteer Estela Reyes.

Luminarias first appeared around the 16th century as a Spanish tradition of lighting bonfires along the roads and churchyards to guide people to midnight mass on the final night of Las Posadas.
The night of Las Posadas is a reenactment of the story of Mary and Joseph's search for lodging in Bethlehem.
Borderland residents come out in full force to enjoy the sights and the sounds as they make their way across Scenic Drive.

In exchange, organizers with La Fe ask residents donate canned goods. Tthat food is then put into holiday gift baskets and distributed to families in need.

For everyone involved, it's a night when they can make a difference.

“It is what fills your heart this is what gets it going and this is what reminds you of what Christmas is all about and should be about,” Reyes said.


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