What are they? Little paper bags with sand and votive candles inside. This definition from the American Heritage Dictionary says they are "commonplace" in American neighborhoods during the holidays. I don't know how "commonplace" they are, but we go out with our neighbors and line our street with luminaria (or farolitos, if you like) every Christmas Eve. We started in 1992 or so and have done it every year since; and in the last few years, nearby streets have started putting out luminaria, too. Last week, though, it was pretty wet on the appointed evening and the display almost didn't happen on Holly Street. Determined and optimistic neighbors braved soggy sidewalks and the threat of more showers to put the lights out, but most of the other blocks did not. Some of those areas waited till last night to put out their luminaria, as I discovered walking home from BART about 8:30. Kate and I walked through the neighborhood early, then again late. We passed the house shown here, on Lincoln Street, about 11:30 p.m.