From Wikipedia "The name of the decoration is the subject of a long-running dispute in New Mexico. In general, farolito is the preferred term in Santa Fe and other parts of northern New Mexico, while the decorations are often referred to as luminarias elsewhere. In Spanish, the word farolito translates as "little lantern", while luminaria means "festival light". Historically luminaria referred not to a paper lantern but to a small festival or vigil bonfire; however, this distinction is not commonly made outside of northern New Mexico.New Mexico traditionalists insist that the entire rest of the world is incorrect in the use of luminaria to mean a paper lantern. Farolitos may be referred to as "luminarias" by some, but on Christmas Eve, when the farolitos are lit in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, luminarias (Posada vigil fires) are burning in the small mountain villages of Northern New Mexico. Luminaria bonfires made of square, stacked piñon and juniper wood can often can be seen lining the State highway north of Santa Fe where the highway passes through Espanola. In the mountain villages and by the roadways, families tend and gather around the warm fires and welcome passerby. The distinction still stands in practice, even if the nomenclature is become confused.