Every Christmas Eve, shortly after dark, the Village of Clarendon Hills is transformed by the glow of thousands of candles lighting sidewalks, driveways, and hearts as far as the eye can see. Luminaria is a simple candle set placed on top of sand in a brown paper bag. This tradition is so popular that most of the houses in Clarendon Hills participate and the village as a whole becomes so luminous that visitors flock from all over to bask in the glow of a transformed Clarendon Hills.
Originally from Mexico, the tradition was introduced to Clarendon Hills in 1965. The Infant Welfare Society brought this tradition to the village as a way to help fund their full-service clinic in Chicago for mothers and children that cannot afford health insurance. While the original purpose was to light the way for the Christ child to one’s home, it has evolved in modern times and taken on the role of secular Christmas decoration,s much like Christmas lights or wreaths. Although there are still many people who celebrate it, and set it up each year, for its original religious purpose. Even now, Clarendon Hills residents are especially dedicated to this long-standing tradition.
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