The longtime tradition “Noche de Luminarias,” or “Night of Lights,” is set to make its return to New Mexico State University after pressing pause last year due to the pandemic. 

This year marks the 36th anniversary of the event. The NMSU tradition was started in 1984 by Residence Hall volunteers who set up luminarias around their buildings. Corbett Center Programming Council later joined the Residence Halls and increased participation numbers. Since then, the event has grown to be one of the largest luminarias displays in New Mexico. 

The Las Cruces and NMSU community will have the chance to view over 8,500 luminarias spread across campus outdoors from 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 5. NMSU students will have their own exclusive viewing time from 8 to 9 p.m. 

“While this is a beautiful thing where we welcome all of Las Cruces, the students are still our main audience,” said Sarah Edwards, director of Student Involvement and Leadership Programs.

“Making sure that they feel seen amid this community-welcoming event is something we take seriously, so we hope that everyone will attend and participate in this beautiful celebration.” 

Community members can participate in a bundle of activities that will happen outside of the NMSU bookstore, including cookie decorating, a letters to Santa station, holiday music and much more. Organizers will also screen a Christmas movie. In an effort to help protect the community amid the pandemic, all activities will be outdoors this year. The luminarias will also be lighting up the horseshoe for those who prefer to drive by or visit the display from a distance. 

The event is a campus collaborative effort between the Student Involvement and Leadership Programs office, Associated Students of NMSU, Auxiliary Services, Residence Hall Association and the NMSU Bookstore. 

For more information prior to the event, visit or contact Edwards at  

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