NORWALK, Conn. – The twinkling in Rowayton's darkness Sunday night wasn't just from white Christmas lights – hundreds of candles were lining the roads. David McCarthy, a resident, said it is a southwestern tradition that made its way to Norwalk. "I think most people view Luminary Night as the 'official' kick off of the Christmas Season," he said.
The luminary coincided with the Family Centers' annual "Hope Lights Lives" fundraiser benefiting bereavement and critical illness support services offered through the Greenwich-based Center for Hope and the Den for Grieving Kids.
McCarthy said he got his candles from the Center for Hope. "For a number of reasons, my wife is a very big supporter of theirs, so I make sure to get them there," he said. "Normally someone in each neighborhood is their representative. In our neighborhood, I believe that Ellen Rankin puts the slips in mailboxes a month or so earlier and arranges the kit deliveries."
Luminary kits cost $25 and contained 12 tea light candles, 12 white paper bags and 12 plastic candle holders. Candles lined Highland Avenue, Rowayton Avenue and Wilson Avenue as well as other area roads Sunday night.
"CFH does a really great job in this in a number of ways," McCarthy said said. "First, having feet on the ground in every neighborhood is amazing. Second, the kits themselves are pretty impressive and yet so very simple. In my experience over the last 10 years the number of people who do it varies, but tends to increase. I was amazed at the numbers in Rowayton on my drive to pick the kids up for car pool (Monday) morning."
Family Centers is a private, nonprofit organization offering education and human services to children, adults and families in Lower Fairfield County, according to its website. More than 1,700 professionals and trained volunteers work together to provide a range of responsive, innovative programs.