Friday, December 19, 2014

St. Lucia's

Several generations ago, Husband's family immigrated from Sweden. We are lucky enough to have his fourth Great-grandfather's autobiography/journal that details his trip from the family farm in Sweden to his schooling in Denmark and then onto work in the United States. This year I wanted to focus more on traditions than presents and our Swedish family heritage seemed like a wonderful place to start.

The sentiment of St. Lucia's day is a magical one, filled with goodness, light, and charity, perfect for heralding in the joy of Christmas. Lucia (meaning light) was a Christian woman condemned to death for refusing a Pagan husband, before her martyrdom she also donated all her money to feed the poor, or so the legend says. In Scandinavian culture, St. Lucia's Day is celebrated on the 13th of December, the original Winter Solstice, with the oldest daughter dressing up as Lucia, in a white dress for purity, a red sash for martyrdom, an evergreen crown topped with candles. Typically, she rises before the rest of the family and serves bread and coffee.

We mixed it up a little to fit what we were actually capable of doing but still keeping to the tradition. The girls made paper crowns after the fashion of the evergreen wreath by gluing holly leaves and red berries to a construction paper band. They made star sugar cookies to deliver to our neighbors and sang carols instead of the usually Sanka Lucia hymn, which I'm hoping to learn for next year. For dinner, we ate the traditional Julbord with roast beef, cheese, bread and butter, pickles, and the left over sugar cookies, which aren't exactly traditional but they are delicious.

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