Española Showcases 10,000 Farolitos On City Streets & Plaza

Noche Buena 2015 on the Paseo de Onate bridge in Española. Photos by Robert Naranjo unless otherwise noted

Española Showcases 10,000 Farolitos On City Streets & Plaza


The 2015 Farolitos Project, chaired by Dennis O’Brien, sought to return the tradition of placing thousands of farolitos throughout the city on Christmas Eve or “Noche Buena.”

With donations and with the assistance of volunteers including City Councilor and Mayor Pro Tem, Pedro Valdez, Judge Stephen Salazar’s Community Service workers supervised by Richard Marquez, and many volunteers like Luanna Lujan whom said, “It’s a beautiful sight with all the farolitos glowing for hours on Christmas Eve in Española. That’s why I help when I can because it’s something most people enjoy.”

City Councilor Pedro Valdez starts the preparations by setting out farolitos on the Paseo de Onate bridge on Christmas Eve. Valley Daily Post photo

The all out effort resulted in10,000 farolitos placed on city streets on Christmas Eve.

This popular Christmas event in the city had its genesis during the 1960’s when former Mayor Richard L. Lucero and the Explorer’s Club (advanced level Boy Scouts), started lighting farolitos along city streets, “to light candles for the soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War,” according to the Farolito Project website.

Martin Martinez was driving past on Christmas Eve and saw one person working to lay out many bags. He stopped and helped make the farolito display happen. Valley Daily Post image.

Sometimes city street lights were turned off and cars would only have their parking lamps on and drive slowly through town for a serene and beautiful view, according to area residents. Today, this is no longer done, presumably due to higher traffic flows and liability concerns. Regardless, it’s still a splendid sight to see thousands of farolitos lining Española’s streets, and, really, it’s part of what makes New Mexico special at Christmas time.

The Mision from across Bond Street

Other communities in the Valley have continued this tradition for years. For decades Velarde  volunteers have lined the highway for miles, and this year was no different.

Farolitos, along with the larger luminaria bondfires are also placed in Abiquiu, Dixon, La Canova and many other places. 

Volunteers and the Velarde Fire Department work to line over 3 miles of highway in Velarde on Christmas Eve. Valley Daily Post image

See below for some more images from the night.

The Plaza in Espanola. Valley Daily Post image


The Espanola on the hill lit up with Farolitos