Celebrating Light and Santa Lucia

Tonight I enjoyed my first Festival of Light, also known as Santa Lucia Festival. I have been attending St John’s Lutheran Church and when I saw the announcement I decided to host a party.

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Selecting children’s book for kindergarteners at the Avid Reader.

First we met at the Avid Reader and bought books for Ms. Watson’s kindergarten class in Loleta, CA. It is always fun to browse storybooks and to choose a book to match a child’s interest. My friends and their children were such enthusiastic shoppers that we had extra books.

We returned to my house for a light supper and finished wrapping the books. Then we walked to St John’s for the service. The sanctuary was full of beautiful lights. We were all given a candle on our way in. I was full of excitement!

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Festival of Lights at St John’s Lutheran Church. Santa Lucia is in the center.

The service was chock full of special music from the children’s choir, young adults, and Celebration Singers. The last song was the most catchy as we sang:

Deep in the north’rn sky bright stars are beaming;

Christmas is drawing nigh, candles are gleaming.

Glad in her garment white, wearing her crown of light,

Sank-ta Lucia Sankta Lucia.

Glad in her garment white, wearing her crown of light,

Sank-ta Lucia Sankta Lucia.

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Santa Lucia was so graceful with her crown of real candles

Our procession was led by Santa Lucia with her blazing crown of candles, followed by her court of attendants–all in white with red sashes. The littlest girl in white looked like she was less than 4 years old.

The festival is still a very popular tradition in Sweden where at this time of year it is dark almost all day. A festival of light does not have the same impact in California. In the USA, it is remembered by Swedes in Lutheran churches and at Sons of Norway meeting halls.

It is a lovely reminder of the hope that our faith offers and a big dose of beauty.

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