NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Noche de Luminarias to light up NMSU campus

Noche de Luminarias (Night of Lights), one of the largest luminaria displays in southern New Mexico, will light up the main campus of New Mexico State University from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5.

More than 6,000 luminarias will light the New Mexico State University campus from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, for the university's annual Noche de Luminarias. (NMSU photo)

More than 6,000 luminarias will line the International Mall and the path from the Pan American Center to Corbett Center Student Union. Las Cruces High School Band members will make and light the luminarias as a fund-raising event. Last year's festivities drew more than 2,000 students, faculty, staff and community members.

"I cannot think of a better way to begin the holiday season than by walking around the campus engulfed in the warmth of light provided by the luminarias and listening to the sounds of caroling and children laughing," said Bruce Vandevender, assistant director of campus activities.

Activities during the Night of Lights traditionally include music, caroling, rides in a horse-drawn trolley and a visit with Santa Claus. Vibrations, Vista Middle School's handbell ringers, will perform during the event. Children can have a Polaroid picture taken with Santa for $1. All other activities are free and holiday refreshments will be served in the second floor lobby of Corbett Center.

The New Mexican tradition of lighting luminarias goes back to the early 16th century. Small fires called luminarias or farolitos, the Spanish word for "little lanterns," were placed along the roads and churchyards to commemorate the birth of Christ and to guide individuals to midnight mass. In the early 19th century, settlers in the United States used Chinese lanterns to hang in their doorways. Many people began to use candles buried in sand and placed in small paper sacks instead of the more expensive Chinese lanterns.

Sponsors of this year's event are Union Program Council (UPC), the President's office, Corbett Center Student Union, the Associated Students of NMSU, Activities and Housing and Residential Life. For more information call UPC at (505) 646-3200.