Farolitos or Luminarias in Taos

Farolitos and Luminarias on Ledoux Street Taos, NM

Farolitos and Luminarias on Ledoux Street Taos, NM


New Mexico has a tradition of lighting Farolitos and Luminarias during the holidays.  Above are brown paper bags with a bit of sand and small candle placed inside for illumination.  Small bonfires are also lit.  The other pastime in New Mexico, other than discussing which is better, red or green chile, is to argue if the bags are called luminarios and the small bonfires are called firelitos, or is it the other way around?  I prefer to call the scene above bag-a-litos so there is no mistake about it….

I spent the month of December 2013 in Taos searching for a specific Christmas scene.  An adobe wall and gate with a Christmas wreath, snow and some bag-a-litos.  Not only did I not find such a gate, but there was hardly any snow in December.  So the search goes on.  Ledoux Street was made famous in part by the Navajo artist, R.C. Gorman.

Another tradition is a torchlight parade at Taos Ski Valley on Christmas Eve and a similar parade New Year’s Eve with the addition of fireworks.  The torches are carried by skiers down one of the runs called Snake Dance.  I skied here as a kid, and it is a very difficult run.  It is trough shaped and does not follow the normal fall line as most ski runs do.  So I practiced taking photos on Christmas Eve with the torches and searched for a good vantage point for New Year’s.  I went again New Year’s Eve, but the fireworks took place after the skiers were done, so the photo below is a composite of multiple photos to get the fireworks and the torches together.

Much of photography is persistence and trial and error.  Neither of these photos turned out as well as I’d hoped, but I’ll keep trying….

Taos Torchlight Parade

Skiers carry lite torches down the hill Christmas Eve.

Year's Eve Fireworks, Taos,

New Year’s Eve Fireworks, Taos, New Mexico

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