In the mid 1960s, Grace Allen (the wife of the first president of the University of South Florida and Original Carrollwood resident) had read about a southwestern Christmas Eve tradition of lighting candles placed in sand-filled paper bags called luminarias. She made a sample and suggested to the Carrollwood Civic Association that all the homes in Original Carrollwood light rows of candles in front of their property for a few hours on Christmas Eve. The idea was approved. Around 7 p.m. that Christmas eve, nearly every home in Original Carrollwood began to glow as neighbors strolled along the sidewalks, shared holiday cheer, and enjoyed a relaxing evening. The tradition has continued ever since! Original Carrollwood’s luminaries have gained popularity throughout Tampa as many residents of other neighborhoods drive through each year to enjoy them.