River Parishes celebrate Christmas with bonfires

Andres Fuentes

Louisiana residents wake up to presents from Papa Noel on Christmas morning, and it’s all thanks to St. James and St. John the Baptist Parishes. St. Nick and his flying reindeer found their way to the Pelican State thanks to hundred of bonfires lighting the way.

Nearly 200 bonfires went up in flames. Some laced with shrubbery, Christmas lights and firecrackers.

The tradition dates back from the 1700s, when Cajun colonists started building the pyramid-style bonfires before heading out to midnight mass.

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A local family dresses down their bonfire with holiday flare in Lutcher, Louisiana on December 24, 2019. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes
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Crowds look at the firework display after setting their bonfires ablaze on the levee in Lutcher, Louisiana on December 25, 2019. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes
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Nearly 200 bonfires were set on fire along the levees in the River Parishes on December 24, 2019. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes
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One fire bursts into blue flames on Christmas Eve in Lutcher, Louisiana. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes
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A father and son stare at their bonfire on the levee in Lutcher, Louisiana on December 24, 2019. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes
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One of the 200 bonfires in the River Parishes burn on Christmas Eve to light the way for Papa Noel on December 24, 2019. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes
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Crowds watch firework displays after setting bonfires on fire on the levee in Lutcher, Louisiana on December 24, 2019. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes
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One of the 200 bonfires in the River Parishes burn on Christmas Eve to light the way for Papa Noel on December 24, 2019. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes
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One of the 200 bonfires in the River Parishes burn on Christmas Eve to light the way for Papa Noel on December 24, 2019. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes