noun pl. luminarias
See luminaria in American Heritage Dictionary 4
Origin: , from Latin lūmināria
Origin: , pl. of lūmināre, lamp; see luminary. Regional Note: In recent years it has become commonplace to see entire American neighborhoods decorated during holiday seasons with luminarias lining driveways, sidewalks, or rooftops. A luminaria is a votive candle set inside a small decorative paper bag weighted with sand. The bags are usually colored and often perforated with designs through which the candle inside shows as bright pinpricks of light. The custom of luminarias comes from Mexico and was practiced in New Mexico for many years before spreading throughout the United States. It derives from a similar holiday custom of the Pueblo peoples in New Mexico. On Christmas Eve they build a bonfire, called a luminaria, outside each house.