We interrupt our photographic travels (again) from Phoenix to Deming, NM, for a stop for carolling in Mesilla, New Mexico.
On Christmas Eve, Mesilla's Plaza comes alive with nearly six thousand luminarias outlining streets, sidewalks and buildings to celebrate the holiday season.
But before enjoying the luminarias' twinkling lights, volunteers had to be enlisted to light the candles on the Plaza. Yours truly was among those who began the process about dusk. Armed with a fireplace lighter, the others and I completed the operation in short order.
On September 10, 1957, the Mesilla Plaza was declared a state monument of New Mexico because of its historical significance in both the history of the state and the history of the United States (see our 3/1/10 entry).
The Plaza was initially listed on the National Register in January 1982, as a National Historic landmark. Mesilla's Historic district was added to the National Registry in February, 1985.
The two photos above and the one on the right show luminarias on the street and the roof of the shops lining the Plaza.
It was a cool evening with temperatures near 50.
We arrived early, since we didn't know the parking situation. This gave us the opportunity to watch the set-up crew get the sound system in working order.
The two-hour caroling period began at 5:30 and people were still arriving at 7:00.
In the background (left in the photo on the left ) and in the photo below is San Albino Church, which was established by order of the Mexican government in 1851.
In 1906, the present building was constructed on the foundation of the original adobe church.
The Mesilla Singers led the assembled crowd in the singing of Christmas carols, accom-panied only be a person on a key-board.
The carolers took time out midway through the singing to honor public safety and military personnel.
Shops around the Plaza were decorated with lights, with this shop being one of the most colorful.