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Christmas Eve Luminarias: A New Mexico Tradition
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Albuquerque , NM
Friday, December 21, 2018


Here in the American Southwest, there’s a tradition of visiting the graves of loved ones on Christmas Eve. For many New Mexico cemeteries, the night of December 24 is the busiest time of the year for visitors, rivaling even Memorial Day. This tradition is especially popular in Catholic cemeteries.

Christmas Eve luminarias
Luminarias on Christmas Eve in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Graves are decorated with lights of varying types. The most simple and beautiful lights are luminarias. These are created with lunch sack-sized paper bags that have an inch or so of sand on the bottom. The sand give weight to the bag and anchors a single votive candle. When hundreds of graves are lined with thousands of luminarias, the result is a peaceful, glowing field of love.

If you drive north from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, once you climb La Bajada (The Hill), the name for this simple holiday light display changes. In northern New Mexico, luminarias are called farolitos. Read more about the history in this New Mexico Magazine story by Kate Nelson.

In this video, Certified Thanatologist Gail Rubin introduces you to the New Mexico tradition of Christmas Eve luminarias and cemetery visits. Consider adopting this tradition for your own family, wherever you live!

Gail Rubin is a death educator who uses humor and funny films to teach about end-of-life issues. She’s a speaker, author, blogger, and coordinator of the Before I Die New Mexico Festival. Her latest book is KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

Gail Rubin, CT, is author and host of the award-winning book and television series, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips, and KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist (that's a death educator) and a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the end-of-life and funeral planning conversation started. She "knocked 'em dead" with her TEDx talk, A Good Goodbye. She provides continuing education credit classes for attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, financial planners, funeral directors and other professionals. She's a Certified Funeral Celebrant and funeral planning consultant who has been interviewed in national and local print, broadcast and online media.

Known as The Doyenne of Death®, she is the event coordinator of the Before I Die NM Festival. She also hosts A Good Goodbye Internet radio show and produces Mortality Minute radio and online video spots. Her YouTube Channel features more than 450 videos!

Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter. Her speaking profile is available at eSpeakers.com.

Gail Rubin has been interviewed about funeral planning issues in national and local broadcast, print and online media. Outlets include The Huffington Post, Money Magazine, Kiplinger, CBS Radio News, WGN-TV,  and local affiliates for NPR, PBS, FOX, ABC-TV, CBS-TV and NBC-TV.

Sign up for a free planning form and occasional informative newsletter at her website, AGoodGoodbye.com.

A Good Goodbye
Albuquerque, NM