For the first time since 1985, Faith Lutheran Church celebrated Lucia on Dec. 9.
Lucia was an early Christian at a time when followers of Christ were persecuted. She gave to the poor and smuggled food to those in hiding. In 303 A. D., when given a chance to spare her own life by renouncing her Christianity, the 20-year-old from Syracuse in Sicily stood by her faith, choosing martyrdom instead.
In Sweden, Lucia Day is traditionally celebrated on Dec. 13 when the eldest daughter in the family is dressed in white with a long, red sash at her waist. She wears a crown of Christmas greens, adorned with lit candles, in honor of the martyred saint. Dressed in this garb the daughter serves her family a breakfast tray of saffron Christmas buns, ginger cookies, hot coffee and glogg, a hot, spiced wine.
The saint is also celebrated in Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Finland, Hungary, Malta, Bosnia, Bavaria, Croatia, Slovakia, Spain, and the U.S.
After a brief procession and song in the sanctuary, with narration by Clarice Beattie and piano accompaniment by Jo Anderson, the girls delivered breakfast pastries at Sunday School and coffee time.
Faith has begun celebrating in anticipation of their 125th anniversary next September. The Swedish St. Lucia event is one way to involve the children in the heritage of their church.
A former music instructor in the public schools and for PBS television, Jo Anderson has worked with many children over the years, presenting pageants, plays, musicals, and operettas with kids from grade 1 to 12. She said the St. Lucia celebration is one of her favorites.