One luminaria, many luminarias
The word for a lighted candle in a paper bag is a luminaria—not a luminary, as this blog’s spell check program so desperately wants it to be.
A luminary, my dictionary says, is a prominent, influential person in a particular field. For example, Walter Cronkite was a luminary of television news.
A luminaria is a lantern created by a candle in a paper bag. Luminaria is singular. When you have many—in a Memorial Day display at a cemetery, for example—they are luminarias. Note that S on the end to form the plural.
As of yesterday, most respondents in this poll had chosen the correct word, luminaria. Luminary was the runner-up—and that’s how it has often appeared in The Free Lance-Star.
Now you know.