Around for hundreds of years, lanterns and luminaries add the charm of days gone by to today's landscape.
The custom of luminaries came from Spanish New World settlers who introduced "farolitos" (little lanterns) in the 16th century to light the way to church. The lanterns — constructed with paper sacks, sand and votive candles — arrived in the United States from Mexico in the 19th century and were much like the ones displayed today at Christmas time. Townspeople used them along roads as a way to communicate, warn and celebrate.
Doorway lanterns illuminated streets in most American cities 200 years ago. Legend has it that in 1775 a pierced metal lantern shining from the belfry of the Old North Church signaled Paul Revere to the arrival of the British, thus igniting the American Revolution. These days, lanterns and luminaries come in many sizes and designs, adding warmth while welcoming visitors to porches and patios.