our little tiny St Lucia wrap

Benedetto di Bindo. St. Lucy. ca. 1410. Institute of Art, Minneapolis.

Today the Church celebrated the feast of St. Lucia. This day is an extremely popular day in Scandinavian countries, Sweden in particular. A full quarter of my heritage is Swedish so I have been enjoying getting to know some of the customs celebrated. Growing up we didn’t celebrate, but I’m wondering if my grandmother had any customs she celebrated. I meant to call and ask, but.. chaos here the last few days. She reads the blog though, so maybe you could share some thoughts if you have a minute?

Anyways, I found this bit over at CatholicCulture and especially enjoyed the following:

In the liturgy of the Church, Saint Lucy has held, and still holds today, the inspiring position of a saint whose very name reminds the faithful at the middle of Advent that her own “light” is only a reflection of the great “Light of the World” which is to start shining at Bethlehem on Christmas Day. It is as if she would say: “I am only a little flame in Advent showing you the way:

Behold, the Lord will come And all His saints with Him, And on that day There will be a great light. Alleluia.

I love that we get to celebrate things like this in the Church!

I had plans to be just a teensy bit more organized and pull off the whole St Lucia “parade” with our Lucia bread this morning, but…. it didn’t happen. So I made the bread this afternoon (and it almost didn’t rise… second time this week my dough has had a hard time rising, thoughts?). And we ended up inviting my parents over for dessert and coffee.

The kids had a great time though. They were jumping up and down, rushing through baths so they could “run downstairs and have Lucia bread”!

I did manage to get a little crafty a few days ago and attempt a crown. It needs a little lot of work but it turned out like this:


I also realize that she isn’t wearing a white dress or a red sash, but that’s not something we own, and I didn’t think of it with enough time to even attempt making one. I’ve not ever attempted clothing either, so that sounded just a bit too daunting at this time. I’ll keep an eye out for something in the next year though, so maybe next year we’ll be “appropriately” dressed.

She wanted to wear the crown but she didn’t want to carry the bread (which incidentally turned out great!) :


She did pass out the plates with slices of bread to everyone.

The kids had fun passing the crown around:


We also have a few favorite stories we like to read:
Hanna’s Christmas by Melissa Peterson
Kirsten’s Surprise (American Girl (Quality)) by Janet Shaw
These books are pretty much “mommy, can you read this to me” over and over once they’re brought out or borrowed from the library. They love them so much.

And that’s going to be it for us from this Lucia Day.

I’m linking with Audrey Eclectic for her St Lucia Day Blog Procession


9 thoughts on “our little tiny St Lucia wrap

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement! Sometimes I get too caught up in everything that we *could* be doing, that I lose focus on the good bits that we’re actually doing. ~ Ruth Anne

  1. Yes, I read your blog regularly, both to get to know you better and to give me some distraction on dull days.

    No, we did not celebrate St. Lucia Day when I was growing up. I don’t remember learning about it until I was an adult. Even then, we never celebrated it, although I have a vague memory of one of our daughters attempting it once. Or was it just my imagination.

    Last night I found a link to an official website from Sweden. It gave two versions of the history of the celebration. One was the story of the girl martyred in 304, obviously before Sweden was a “Christian” nation. The other was the pagan explanation, with December 13 being the longest night of the year in the “old calendar,” and other details I don’t remember. The website said that the modern celebration is probably a combination of the two traditions. Was it another instance of a pagan celebration being Christianized?

    One interesting point in the official website was that every town has its Lucia, kind of like a beauty queen for the town. There is even a national Lucia.

    When I clicked the link in your blog to Kirsten’s Surprise, I read the reviews and came across one by Kurt Johnson. Whether he is the Kurt Johnson from our church, I don’t know, but the Johnson family that I know always celebrates Lucia Day, with one of the five daughters dressing up in a white dress with a red sash and wearing a candle wreath. I know the family well because all five of the girls have worked for me, one by one, until we went to Montana. The youngest will enter college this fall. The dad, Kurt, is half Swedish descent. The mom, Carme, is Catalán from Spain. (Her father is Catalán. Her mother is Spanish, but Carme was raised with Catalán as her first language.)

    Incidentally, on the website they noted that nowadays battery-powered candles are commonly used for safety reasons. The description of the school celebrations seemed more pagan than Christian.

    A few years ago I bought a book by Tracie Peterson titled Julotta. Tracie writes Christian romance novels, a genre I never have read once I got past my teen years. I purchased the book out of curiosity because of the title, which is the name for the traditional Christmas morning service in Swedish churches. As far as I know, they don’t have services on Christmas Eve. The main service is at dawn on Christmas Day. I once went to a Julotta service at a church in New Jersey that still used Swedish for some of the services. It must have been when I was a young teen. We had moved to New Jersey from Chicago where we had a lot of Swedish relatives. Perhaps my dad felt we were missing out on our heritage, for he arranged for my sister and me to take Swedish lessons from a professor at Uppsala College in East Orange, NJ. (Uppsala is the name of one of the main universities in Sweden.) Irene and I went to lessons every week for a school year, but I don’t remember anything we learned. (It would have been my dad who promoted the Swedish heritage. My mother was also a full Swede, but she had no particular interest in her heritage.)

    In Tracie Peterson’s book there is a chapter on St Lucia Day. Each chapter in the book begins with a recipe for some Swedish dish. Of course, the chapter on Lucia Day begins with Lussekatter, Lucia buns. I reread the whole book (126 pages) last night. I guess you inspired me. Also, I’ve been sick and am too lazy to do any desk work.

    Love, Grandma

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