Let’s Keep Celebrating Winter Holidays!
Learning about Hanukkah was so much fun, but there are so many more holidays to experience!
Next, we will learn about St. Lucia Day and Sweden! Another festival of light, St. Lucia is a woman who wore candles on her head so that her hands would be free to hand out food to the poor and starving. Originally, this holiday was celebrated using the old Julian calendar which meant Dec. 13th coincided with the Winter Solstice.
Today young girls are selected to represent St. Lucia by wearing crowns of lingonberry branches, with structure to support 7 candles. Battery powered candles are fine to substitute! Boys can dress up as Stjärngossar or Star Boys. Both the girls as St. Lucia and the Star Boys wear white but the girls also wear a red sash around their waist. The Star Boys have instead of a crown, a tall pointed hat (without a brim) decorated with stars. On the morning of the 13th, the girl who is acting as St. Lucia should wake everyone up early with St. Lucia buns, called lussekatters and coffee or hot cocoa. We encourage you to try out the recipe for your learning experience! Cooking helps with math and is fun!
The day should be spent singing St. Lucia songs and eating traditional Swedish foods like meat balls, St. Lucia crown cake and glogg. Once the sun has gone down, the spectators light and hold a vigil candle. All other light sources should be off. Then St. Lucia and her procession of maidens and star boys walk through with their costumes and candles lit singing a St. Lucia song. This symbolizes the suns return – light emerging from the darkness. This is a great holiday that I am excited to celebrate! You might want to purchase a book sharing this experience. One fictional story is available here.
Fun side note – in Sweden, the Tomten, or Christmas gnome is the one who delivers presents. He goes around with his with his goat to deliver the presents to all the girls and boys, who leave porridge outside for them to eat instead of milk and cookies.
After St. Lucia Day, we rush into the celebration of Las Posadas! Las Posadas is a Mexican tradition that is observed from Dec. 16th – 24th. It recreates the story of the baby Jesus when Mary and Joseph were trying to find shelter. Generally there is a procession where people recreate the journey of the pregnant Mary and Joseph as they ask for shelter by walking down a street and knocking on doors asking for entry. Finally, someone grants them shelter. Children carry poinsettias and at the end of each evenings march, there is singing and celebration. Star shaped clay piñatas are filled with treats and then broken apart by celebrants wearing blindfolds. In many areas, local churches offer a Las Posadas celebration. You might be able to find one near you!
Consider joining our voyage so that you can participate with Global Learn Day all year long!