Friday, December 12, 2008

Lucia

Before I talk about Lucia, I must tell you why I have been unable to blog the last few days. The other day, while waiting for yet another generous comment from you, my public, I noticed that I had KGO on my 'bookmarks'. So I hit on it to see what would happen. I have listened to KGO since we lived in Diablo and I can't function without listening to Ray Tailjafero (Wrong spelling) from 1 to 5-am. I have heard him way down South in Mexico and I have heard him way up North in Canada. But he does not do so well in Port Angeles Wa. So I thought I could fix up with him on the computer maybe. I checked around and said to myself, I'll do it later. And so I turned off the computer, and when I got back to do a blog I opened the laptop and here was KGO broadcasting. While I was reading the comments on the King, I had to listen to the ads from SF. This morning I finally got rid of KGO.

And so to Lucia. Pre Christians in Scandinavia believed that their Gods had forsaken them when in December, the night lasted longer than ever. They were smart enough to figure out which was the longest night. Which is around the 22nd of December.
And people would celebrate the fact that light would return to them and there were parties in the dark. Later the merchants felt that the 22nd was too close to Christmas and they changed the holiday to the 13th of December. When I was a child in Sweden, we celebrated in every house in our village by putting candles in every window on the route to the church. I remember one year we had enough snow to have a horse-drawn carriage driving from the upland farm area with lighted flares through the village to the church. The church was heated with free-standing round tall stoves, one on each side of the building. People who were forced to sit near the stoves would die from over heating, and we children who sang with the choir would almost perish in the choir loft.

In each house the family celebrated with breakfast in bed. Baking had been done the day before and the blondest girl of the house would take a tray with coffee and Lucia Buns to each person in the house, singing the Lucia song all the while. It was a lovely custom and the year when I met Sam in Sweden I discovered how it had become very commercialized. It was a beauty pageant and The Lucia chosen by the public, rode a white horse through the dark streets of Stockholm. followed by the nine girls who had not won the contest and by boy-scouts carrying lighted flares. It is still a lovely custom but I can see why the merchants changed the date.

In our house, while the children were growing up we celebrated Lucia. We invited the families we were close to and their children to breakfast. Since we all had four children (not true) the number of people who came filled several tables. Martha was the blondest of the girls and she most often wold be our Lucia. She was dressed in white and wore a crown of lighted candles on her blond curls. Only one mother refused to come. Guests had to arrive at six, and she felt it was too early. Her husband and four children came. We would tell the story of the early Scandinavians and their fear of eternal darkness, and we would sing the song. Then the fathers went to work and the children went to catch the school-bus and the mothers could sit and talk about what just happened. I may make myself a Lucia-bun for breakfast tomorrow.

Happy Lucia, every one

10 comments:

Ann from Montana said...

Yes, you had better make yourself a Lucia bun! - A beautiful custom and how wonderful to share it not only with your family but your friends and their families!

Arinn said...

Wow, it is really interesting to know about this custom! I remember celebrating it at my German great-grandparents' nursing home. It was always on Dec 13 but it would be a special night church, with a blond girl dressed in white carrying candles with other girls following her. I don't like that version of Lucia as much as yours! I wish I could have a Lucia bun.

Arinn said...

OH, and my grandparents' nursing home was in Canada. In case you were wondering.

Barbara said...

Happy Lucia, dear Svensto!
Barbara

Jessica said...

When I went to Sweden with my friend to visit her family, we celebrated Lucia in Angelholm. I could not understand why we had to get up so early! It was a neat experience, though!

Jessica said...

Oh! I also remember the Lucia bun -there was a raisin in the middle? I don't know how to spell it but we drank hot glug with an almond n the bottom, it was good! And I thought it was crazy that the Swedes had a special Christmas cola, Yule something ...

Anonymous said...

I wondered why some people here in Pennsylvania do the candle in every window thing. I am thinking of taking up the tradition.

Candace said...

I know where Port Angeles is! A very beautiful city. It wasn't very big though when I visited. We lived 2 hours away in Neah Bay. This was back in the early 1980's. Merry Christmas!

Moon Rani said...

I once belonged to a Swedish-founded church which still celebrated St. Lucia day long after the founders passed on. Lucia was elected by the congregation. I remember one year she was a dark-haired, dark-eyed Italian woman. In addition to the celebration in the church basement, Lucia also carried the Christ child doll up the church aisle on Christmas Eve and placed him in the manger. I think about that every year.

Rita said...

My mother was born on December 13 and was named Lucia after the holiday. I was born on the same day, her birthday!