Holiday Luminaria

Light the Winter’s Darkness

A luminaria is a small paper lantern that is basically made from a candle that is set in sand inside a paper bag. 

Luminaria is a Spanish word that means "festival light". Historically it referred to a small festival or bonfire.

Now they are traditional Christmas season lights. They are often arranged in rows to create large and elaborate displays along pathways to the home, the church or other location.

Some folkloric traditions suggest they originated in Spain. Merchants were impressed with the elaborate New Year paper lanterns of Chinese culture and decided to make their own version for the Christmas season. Among Roman Catholics, it is believed that the lights are intended to guide the spirit of the Christ child to one's home.

Common across the American Southwest, these Christmas lights today are sold commercially as a string of electric lights or strands of outdoor ornaments that stay lit throughout the winter.

In states like Arizona and Texas, luminarias can also be found at Halloween time. Pumpkin faces drawn onto bags are placed outdoors as seasonal decoration.

To Make Your Own Luminaria:

1. Open a lunch-size paper bag and blow into it to fill it out.

2. Fold the edges over to short the bag.

3. Place about two cups of gravel or sand into the bag. This weighs the bag down so it doesn’t easily blow over.

4. Set the lit tea light into the bag, making sure it is securely placed on the sand or gravel.

5. Place the bag in its place in the row.

Quilt Folk Art

Amish Quilts

Amish quilts – an element of American folk art – reflect Amish history and culture. The textiles and the art itself of creating quilts offer a glimpse into a fascinating culture that reaches back into 17th century Switzerland.

The Amish, also known as the Pennsylvania Dutch are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships, closely related to but distinct from Mennonite churches, with whom they share Swiss Anabaptist origins. Anapbaptist is a Greek term that means ‘one who baptizes over again”.

The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and a reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed him became known as Amish.

In the early 18th century, many Amish and Mennonites immigrated to Pennsylvania to avoid religious persecution. They brought with them their folk arts. These arts were functional as they did not traditionally accept ‘art for art’s sake’.

About the Quilts:

  • Amish quilts endured as a form of folk art because they served a functional purpose.
  • British Quakers brought the quilt concept to American shores. While these quilts quickly became popular with Mennonites and Pennsylvania Germans, the Amish community as a whole continued to resist them for a long time.
  • Amish-inspired designs began to dominate the aesthetic appeal of the quilts. Between the years 1850 and 1870, Pennsylvania Amish began creating quilts that combined colored cloth pieces into a wide array of patterns. Over time, the patterns became increasingly complex and elaborate.
  • In Amish quilts the more straightforward the design, the more likely it is an early design.
  • Amish quilts became extremely popular during the late 1960s, and on into the 1970s. This was partially inspired by the fact that the quilts strongly resembled the Pop Art style that was being embraced in artistic communities around that time.
  •  Amish quilts to this day still embody simple designs (compared to quilts inspired by or drawn from other cultures) and flawless craftsmanship.

Although the Amish continue to prefer a private life, one free from outside influences, many Amish choose to sell their own examples of Amish folk art at local markets or outdoor festivals.  

To learn more about the world of folklore, click here.

4th Annual Mystery Writers

 Join Us by Candlelight

inside  Santa Rosa Memorial Park's

100+-year-old mausoleum

 Santa Rosa Memorial Park is hosting its fourth annual Mystery Writers in the Mausoleum on Thursday, October 27. The free event takes places 7 pm – 8:30 pm in the park's 100+-year-old mausoleum. Still without electricity, the Odd Fellows mausoleum is located at 1900 Franklin Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA.

The juried selection of local mystery and suspense writers includes David Templeton, Robby Bryant, John Lynch, Alexa Popplewell, Barb Cottrell, and Marian Lindners. Dramatic readers and retelling of American ghost stories by David Gonzalez, Elaine Guenette, and others as well as a hauntingly original song by Ann Hutchinson. All will read, perform or sing their selections by candlelight.

“This is a great way to showcase some of the area’s local talent,” said Tim Maloney, General Manager, Santa Rosa Memorial Park. The mausoleum, he added, will be the perfect setting for spine tingling suspense.

This event is sponsored by Santa Rosa Memorial Park in collaboration with FolkHeart Press. Participants can have a chance to meet writers and readers after the event. Warm wear is advised.