While most people are shopping or basting the turkey on Christmas Eve, in Lutcher, families are basting bonfires in diesel fuel.
Cajun folklore says that the bonfires light the way for Papa Noel. The tradition started with French and German settlers in the early 1700's lighting fairly small displays in their front yards, but as the festival's website points out, young families moving into the area in the 1950's helped the tradition grow. Their families are carrying the torch today.
"When my dad stopped, I took over," Ronald Boudreaux, one of the men building the bonfires said. "Everywhere else in the world Christmas Eve is just a boring day except for Gramercy … we have a party."
Another theory holds that the bonfires served as navigation tools on the river for travelers visiting friends on Christmas Eve.
No matter where the bonfires came from, it is one of those only in Louisiana traditions.