Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Light up the night

And dampen the fire of hunger in local bellies

Express Staff Writer

The annual Luminary Festival is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 18. Since its inception in Hailey’s Northridge neighborhoods, others have joined in the celebration, which donates money to The Hunger Coalition. Photo by Willy Cook

While the choice of lawn and home adornment this year reflects a personal style, the simple act of lighting a candle inside a special brown bag this weekend will send the message that hunger is not acceptable in this community.

For the past six years, Lee Dabney has spearheaded the Northridge Luminary Festival, which she started by going door to door selling luminaries for $1 with proceeds going to The Hunger Coalition.

Brought from Spain to Mexico, the tradition of lighting luminaries began with 16th-century Franciscan monks. The lights were said to represent the lighting of the way for Christ's birth and illumination of the spirit. Practically speaking, they were set alongside roads and churchyards to guide people to midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

Dabney said she got the idea from her sister, who used a similar event to raise funds for a recreation complex in New York.

The event has raised about $20,000 for The Hunger Coalition over the years, and has expanded to encompass areas throughout Deerfield, Della View, old Hailey, Curtis, Foxmoor, Woodside, Northstar and Buttercup neighborhoods.

This year, the lighting will begin at dusk on Sunday, Dec. 18.

"Everyone is invited to join in—just call me for supplies," said Dabney, who can be reached at 578-0861.

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