A Season of Festivals: St. Lucia Day

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A Season of Festivals

Seasonal festivals serve to connect humanity with the rhythms of nature. Many festivals which originated in ancient cultures have been adapted over time.  To participate festively in the seasonal moods of the year benefits the child's experience.  There is joy in the anticipation, the preparation, the celebration itself, and the memories created.  This time of year, we celebrate the darkening days, and the light within us all.  The school year begins with Michaelmas, followed by the Martinmas Lantern Walk, and continued last week with St. Nicholas Day and the Spiral Walk.  This week, Class 2/3 will lead the celebration of St. Lucia Day. 

St. Lucia Day

The festival of light named for Santa Lucia is celebrated on her birthday, December 13.  Lucia, whose name means "light," lived in the fourth century in Sicily and her birthday is honored in Sicily with a seasonal celebration. The celebration also became a traditional one in Sweden beginning in the eighteenth century, and this is the one we celebrate at our school.
In this ceremony, the youngest girl from the family is chosen to be Lucia.  She rises before dawn and prepares luciakatter (literally, lucia cats), which are rolls seasoned with saffron and cardamon.  Then, dressed in a white robe with a red sash, wearing a wreath of candles on her head, Lucia leads a procession of people, some maids of honor, others star boys, to bring rolls and coffee to the neighboring families.
It is our school tradition for Class 2/3 to prepare the luciakatter, dress in white robes, and bring bread to the other classes during main lesson, led by Lucia who is chosen from the 7/8th grade.  We will be singing Santa Lucia, which begins, "Now in the winter night, good folk are waiting, see now the maid of light, darkness abating."  We are looking forward to this celebration tomorrow.