FANWOOD, NJ – Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. is the final day for the The Fanwood-Scotch Plains Rotary Luminaria sale at the Fanwood DPW Building on Manfra Way off of North Avenue in Fanwood.
Luminaria are an age old tradition where a candle is nestled in sand at the bottom of a paper bag and placed along sidewalks to create a beautiful lighted walkway. The luminaria kits cost 60 cents, and members of the local Boy Scouts of America will be on hand to help with the loading of the sand. All proceeds will go to support the various charitable and humanitarian projects with which Rotary is involved, both in the United States and overseas
The Rotary Club will also be collecting canned food for its Holiday Food Drive to support local food pantries.
Luminaria, a tradition in the Southwestern U.S., gained widespread popularity in Fanwood and Scotch Plains in the early 1970s. Residents of Homestead Terrace banded together to light the candles inside paper bags on Christmas Eve, and then the custom was quickly adopted and promoted by a family on Forest Road in Fanwood. The neighborhood near the Fanwood Library where Forest Road and Tillotson meet elevated the visibility of the luminaria, which grew exponentially between the early 1970s and the late 1970s locally.
Now, many blocks in the two communities regularly make the luminaria lightings around dusk on Christmas Eve a regular part of their holiday tradition. Some blocks, particularly Christine Circle off of Martine Avenue and West Broad Street, have exhibited a consistently concerted and synchronized effort to involve as many curbsides as possible, making for a spectacular sight after the sun goes down on Dec. 24.