A few hundred Moorestown residents carried on a holiday tradition this week, lining the streets of their community with thousands of luminarias.
For several hours Christmas Day (and into Wednesday), the streets and sidewalks in the area of Pleasant Valley Avenue, Kings Highway and Strawbridge Lake were extra festive, dotted with luminarias—lighted candles set in sand inside paper bags—placed there by members of the community.
Crescent Avenue resident Patricia Decker said she helped establish the tradition 14 years ago and the practice has grown every year since.
“It’s just a celebration of lights,” said Decker, who believes the luminarias—which have Latin American origins—are supposed to have “some sort of religious connotation. However, I stay away from that.
“It’s not religious to me at all. It just looks awesome.”
Decker sends out letters to her neighbors every year asking who wants to participate, and those who do send back money for supplies. She said 212 homes participated this year—approximately 2,500 candles.
“The first time you walk out and you go see (the lights), you get goosebumps,” she said. “I do.”
The luminarias are so striking that local pilots have commented they can see the lights sometimes when they fly overhead, according to Decker.
Sadly, if you were hoping to see the lights, you’ll have to wait until next year. The candles only burn for about 12 hours and were out by Wednesday morning. But according to Decker, the tradition shows no signs of falling off and will most certainly be back.
“It’s really about community and people coming together,” she said.