Christmas Carols and Luminarias on the Plaza -

Every year, on the eve before Christmas, thousands of luminarias line the streets of Mesilla, while on the Plaza, carolers sing, vigils are held and hot chocolate and cookies are consumed. An enduring tradition that brings people from miles around to celebrate the season with simple, no-frills joy and good will. The Town of Mesilla will once again host its annual Christmas Eve on the Plaza, Sunday, December 24, 2024, from 5 –7 p.m.

In keeping with the seasonal cheer, local musical groups lead the crowd in singing old familiar carols around the gaily decked Christmas tree. Performances are also given by local choir groups from Mesilla Elementary, Action Academy, Zia Middle School, and Mayfield High School. And while the plaza is filled with song, the Mesilla Fire Department holds its annual candlelight vigil, to honor fallen service members.

The highlight, of course, is the thousands of luminarias lining streets, sidewalks and buildings throughout the town. It’s a treat like no other, and makes that Christmas Eve stroll to check out the lights and decorations even more magical.

This tradition dates back to the mid-60s, when Josefina Gamboa Biel Emerson began setting out luminarias to guide her guests to her home near the Basilica, where she would entertain with food and drink., In time, the display grew, with Boy Scouts helping place the lights and local merchants donating to the candle funds. Today, students and families pitch in to fill paper bags with sand and votives, distribute them throughout the town and along Avenida de Mesilla, then light them in unison just before dusk.

“Christmas Eve is such a special time here in the Town of Mesilla,” says Mesilla Mayor Nora Barraza. “Seeing the look of wonder on the faces of visitors, as they join local residents and the local choir singing Christmas carols, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and cookies. The genuine, heartfelt warmth of our surroundings with the laughter of children in the background and family pictures taken in front of the Christmas tree in the middle of the plaza and of everyone getting together celebrating the birth of the Christ child makes such a heartening, magical moment.”

For more information, visit the Mesilla Christmas on the Plaza Facebook page, or call 575-524-3262.

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