Cub Scouts continue luminary tradition in Vicksburg

Published 9:00 pm Monday, December 18, 2017

By Gabrielle Terrett

The Vicksburg Post

Cub Scout Pack 7 plans to keep the lighting of the luminaria in the Glenwood neighborhood a tradition during the Christmas holiday.

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“Luminaria is Spanish for a paper lantern,” Gregory Sparks, cub master, said. “It’s a Christmas lantern. It’s a paper bag with sand and a candle in it. It’s just pretty when they light up along the streets and the driveways.”

For decades neighborhoods have participated in lighting luminarias in the city and Cub Scout Pack 7 has been a part of that since 2011, according to Sparks. Prior to that, Boy Scout troops handled the duty and prior to that, neighbors put out the luminaries.

“Virginia Campbell, who lives in the area and that neighborhood, was doing it before the Boy Scouts took over and it’s been going on for a couple of decades,” Sparks said.

Each year, Pack 7 reaches out to residents on designated streets and asks for a donation to help with the beautification of the neighborhoods for Christmas. A donation of $10 or more is requested from residents and  the Pack purchases the paper bags, candles and sand necessary to create the luminarias for the holiday season.

Early Saturday morning, the cub scouts were out scooping  and placing candles in each bag to set out on curbs in the neighborhood. It takes several hours to set out the more than 6,000 luminaries.

“The neighborhood includes parts of Cherry Street all the way to Drummond Street,” said Sparks. “And back towards Mission 66 and Long Street.”

Sparks said it’s beneficial for the Cub Scouts to do the community project while also beautifying the neighborhood for the season.

“It’s an outdoor activity and it’s also a service project,” said Sparks. “We also ask the residents to contribute towards the costs so we generally earn some money through the pack for expenditures. Since cub scouts are big on outdoor activities this gets them outside, gets them working and it’s doing something for the community.

“For the residents this is a Christmas tradition,” said Sparks. “They enjoy looking at the luminarias.”

After putting the lanterns together and setting the lanterns out onto the driveways, the scouts leave the rest to the residents.

Residents are responsible for the lighting of the luminarias and after the lighting is complete the residents remove the lanterns as well.