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My company has a tradition of hazing the newcomers. I was hearing rumors of the impending horror right after I started but I laughed it off as just simple ribbing of the newbie. Turns out it wasn't just a joke. Everyone who was hired in the last 2 years has to provide the Lucia entertainment on Lucia Day, which, this year, is Monday.

We have to write parodies of traditional Swedish Christmas carols, dress up, promenade into the lunchroom, and sing. I have been coerced into singing a solo. Thank god I don't have to be Lucia, at least. I'm dressing as a gingerbread man. Our wonderful receptionist has saved our asses, all 20 of them, by writing a veritable boatload of songs, all of which parody something about the company, and all of which are hilarious. Our Lucia is not yet chosen, but rumor has it she will be played by a he.

Lucia is a cherished Swedish Christmas tradition, even though she's neither Swedish nor all that traditional, having only been around for about 75 years in Sweden. When you tell that to a Swede, they react with disbelief and amazement. Lucia was a Sicilian saint who died a martyr's death on December 13th approximately 2000 years ago. She was engaged to marry a young man who was not a Christian, and after an argument about money (Lucia gave money to the poor), her betrothed betrayed her to the Roman authorities, disclosing her Christian beliefs. She was sentenced to die by burning at the stake, but when the fire didn't harm her, she was killed with a sword.

Nowadays, little girls dress as Lucia with a crown of candles (o! the irony!) on their heads, wearing white with a red ribbon around their waists. Because Sweden is an equal-opportunity country, and perhaps because Sweden already has ONE dress-up tradition for children that excludes boys,** star boys were added to the mix a little later. Even more recently, and perhaps because of the goofiness of the star boy outfit, most little boys (and both my children) dress up as Santas or gingerbread men. Other little girls in the procession get to hold candles in their hands but otherwise they are dressed similarly to Lucia, and they are called Lucia maids or Lucia attendants.

The Lucia procession comes in singing traditional Lucia songs, and in some households, sadly not mine, serves a breakfast in bed of saffron buns and gingerbread to the parents. We new employees, however, will be (hopefully) cracking up our co-workers enough with our performance that they won't care how bad it is. :P

Martin: It's Angie's birthday today.
Me: No, her birthday is tomorrow. But guess whose birthday it is today?
Martin: Who?
Me: tallefjant's, Lambi's daddy!
Martin: ooh. *pause* He's Lambi's DADDY?
Me: Well,...Lambi's adopted. *smiles*
Karin (who has been only half listening) *wide-eyed* Lambi's a DOCTOR?

Happy Warm and Toasty Birthday Wishes to tallefjant!

*Se någon kommer där, jag vet nog vem det är (from the children's song text of Sankta Lucia)
**påskkärringar, or Easter witches
mood: working
music: The Sundays—Here's Where the Story Ends


Lambi's a DOCTOR?

OMG, that totally cracked me up!

Oooooh, pictures and everything!!! You MUST ask someone to take a picture of Gingerbread Liz. WANNA SEE!!!!!! ;)

I second purrthecat's request, pictures of gingerbread costume please!

Also heh, I never thought about how ironic the candles of Lucia were. I read somewhere that they're worn because of additional mythology that Lucia brought light and food to miners and sailors (as well as giving money to the poor) - which is why Sweden celebrates her in the darkest month. (And also why the girls dress with candle coronets and bring buns.)


It's kind of funny to think that the Star Goose boy thing might have been to keep the boys from feeling left out. My Swede swears that he was traumatized for life by having to wear that "dunce cap" year after year. I know what he's getting for Christmas from me. :-)

Re: Stjärngosse

LMAO! (both because you called it Star Goose and at poor Björn's expression when he opens your present!)

Re: Stjärngosse

I've got a pitcure of G dressed as a star boy, dunce cap and all, at about age 7. I will dig it out and scan it for this year.

I think it'll be many years before we can count on Ingrid bringing us coffee and buns in bed but her father has already started training her on how to make the coffee.

Reading this and seeing the pictures all of the sudden just made me long to be in Denmark for Christmas. Ouch, my heart hurts. :(

But on brighter news, tallefjant is older than me. HEHEHEHEHE!!!!

Your daughter sounds like my Andrew. :D

And I love the Sundays!!!

But on brighter news, tallefjant is older than me.

Are you sure about that?

Thankyou for the birthday wishes.

Kids say the cutest things. Funny!

I understood that Santa Lucia also took food for the poor into caves with candles on her head to light her way.

My children had just celebrated Lucia at Waldorf school. 1992?
Imagine my surprise after hearing a flurry of whispered activity outside my bedroom door, when the door opened and there were my daughters with a tray of tea and buns and candles.
My oldest, Laurel ...I'm not sure how old she was at the time.. I want to say 13 ... I'll ask her... so Laurel had a wreath of lit candles on her head. She had made the wreath herself. She had baked the buns herself. She wore a white gown drafted from another old costume. She wore a red laced vest she had secretly hand sewn herself from the scrape fabric basket. She had given the younger girls candles to hold just outside the door.

Oh thank you Lizardek for bringing back this sweet memory. I wish I had pictures!

A year or two later Laurel was asked to portray Lucia at a Women's Goddess Dance event here in Eugene. She was beautiful in her white dress while we sang... I'm having another senior moment!This time about the St. Lucia song lyrics.

My first exposure to St. Lucia was at a delightful Christmas Faire in Portland when my children were small. There was a procession during the faire, with St. L, her maids, and the star boys( the star boys were in 'virgin Mary blue."). Very sweet and inspiring. After that we read children stories about her in Cricket magazine.
Thanks again.
Oh, I googled Santa Lucia

Oh, that's such a neat story about your kids and the homemade red vest. I wish you had pictures, too! Neat too to hear that there is Lucia in the States, I hadn't ever heard of it before I moved here.

Somewhere, in my disorganized mess of family photos I may have one, but goddess only knows where it is!

Hey leave me out of it! (toasty is my nickname in oz :) )

Great conversation :)

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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

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