Flying Farolitos

After last year's outing to see the farolitos on Canyon Road, we decided that we didn't really need to do that again. And with our own house and kitchen and dining room, we didn't need to go out for a big Christmas Eve dinner.

Monica hit on the idea of going to see the "flying farolitos," which we'd heard about and maybe seen a glimpse of in past years, and then return home for dinner. We knew they were launched from Acequia Madre Elementary School, we thought around dusk. No details were available in the papers or online. Got underway late afternoon, perhaps a bit too early, so we were walking Canyon Road (the school is a few blocks off it) as people were out lighting and preparing. It was fun to see, and we were beating the crowds, but still way early for the flying farolitos. Stopped off at Downtown Subscription, a coffee shop/magazine store, for some hot chocolate to warm us up and pass some time.

Made it to the school just around sunset; the building and the grounds out front were covered with farolitos, a huge peace sign made of farolitos decorated the athletic field, and a tent was set up in the parking lot — the sign hanging in it lead me to believe that a lack of published details about the event is not unusual: "Celebrating 18 years of Flying Farolitos (and 17 years of the Santa Fe Reporter refusing to inform people.)"

Soon after our arrival the organizer/creator of the flying farolitos asked for some volunteers to help. The crowd (maybe 20 or so) clustered close to help block the wind. D and Monica were two of the three people holding the top of the light paper farolito; the organizer lay down underneath and attached a styrofoam cross with birthday candles stuck in it to the bottom, lit them, and then used a torch to heat the air some more and fill the bag up.


The volunteers walked the farolito out, the crowd spread out, and on a count of three, it was released.

And away it floated.

As the organizer noted, "the finest 15th century technology."

We stuck around for another launch as a few more families joined the crowd, then we headed back out, through some nicely decorated back roads into the throngs already starting to fill Canyon Road. We did wind up outside for a while in the cold, but made it back home soon enough for our "snack dinner."


Christmas morning was pastries and presents here, then the traditional trip to Cochiti Pueblo for the dances. Snow was coming in, so we left Santa Fe in the warm sun and got out in Cochiti in the cloudy wind. Stayed for a bit over an hour, and came back home, where Bob and Claire soon stopped by for a brief visit. Posole for dinner.

Today, a visit to the Wheelright and some meals and dessert out. I'll be joining M+D for breakfast tomorrow, and then sending them on their way. We meet up with Bob and Claire in the afternoon to spend the rest of the day with them.


Anonymous said...

Howdy! We were on upper Canyon Road and had a lovely view of the flying farolitos. But I'm trying to get details on how to build them for ourselves here in Michigan! Also loved the luminaria (small bonfire) my brother built at the foot of his driveway that allowed revelers to warm up as they walked back to their cars. We enjoyed a lot of christmas carols, winter songs, and even one James Brown tune with the Christmas Eve walkers.

Bram said...

As we discovered, information about the flying farolitos — even just the where and when — was pretty tough to come by.

They were made of a very light tissue-like paper, sealed with staples and then tape. You can see from the photos the size and that there are three points to the top. The styrofoam pieces that made up the base were about a foot long each, probably with about 30 candles stuck in them.