Christmas Eve Bonfires

Christmas Eve Bonfires

Christmas celebrations across the United States come in many different shapes and sizes. The annual Christmas Eve bonfires on top of the Mississippi River levees is one that is particularly unique.

Along the Great River Road scenic byway in Louisiana, the locals spend approximately three weeks preparing for the event. Pyres are built with many reaching the height of a three story building. Many are built in a traditional pyramid shape, but there are also some more creative shapes like plantation homes or paddlewheel steamboats. When the local fire officials give the ‘okay’, all of the previous weeks’ work goes up in flames to the cheers of the viewing public. The builders set fire to their creations and many include fireworks as well. For miles along the river, viewers can enjoy the over 100 bonfires.

The bonfire Christmas Eve celebration has been going on for over 100 years. Its origins are not completely clear. Much of the celebration is centered around the towns of Gramercy and Lutcher. Visitors can drive along the base of the levees or catch one of the bus tours leaving from New Orleans to participate in the event.

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