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It is common to see farolitos, or small paper lanterns, to welcome the Christmas season in New Mexico and other Southwestern states. This practice is believed to have been inspired by the use of Chinese lanterns during celebrations, but because these decorative lanterns were typically made with delicate material, Spanish people on the Santa Fe Trail eventually found that paper bags would last longer.
Displaying farolitos during Christmastime also has its roots in the tradition of luminaria, little bonfires that guided people to Mass on the last night of Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration leading to Christmas Eve.
In this activity, welcome the holiday season by making your own elaborate paper lanterns! Find the less advanced version of this activity here.