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13 December 2011

Seasons Readings: St. Lucia's Day

St. Lucia's Day is a Catholic holiday dedicated to St. Lucia.  It is celebrated on December 13th, mainly in Scandanavian countries (or by people of Scandanavian descent).  In traditional celebrations, a young girl chosen to portray St. Lucia "wears a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head, she walks at the head of a procession of women, each holding a candle. The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take St. Lucia's life when she was sentenced to be burned. The women sing a Lucia song while entering the room, to the melody of the traditional Neapolitan song Santa Lucia; the Italian lyrics describe the view from Santa Lucia in Naples, the various Scandinavian lyrics are fashioned for the occasion, describing the light with which Lucia overcomes the darkness. Each Scandinavian country has lyrics in their native tongues. After finishing this song, the procession sings Christmas carols or more songs about Lucia. A similar version occurs in Scandinavian communities and churches in the Island"  (from Wikipedia)

I really wanted to review a St. Lucia's Day themed book for today, but had a really hard time finding one in my local and school library.  After my review of Kristen's Surprise by Janet Shaw (the only one I could find!), I'll have a list of other St. Lucia's Day books I found on amazon, in case you, dear reader, would like to check those out.

Kirsten's Surprise: A Christmas Story (American Girls: Kirsten, #3)
Here is the summary for Kristin's Surprise on Amazon:
Kirsten and her family will be celebrating their first Christmas in America. Kirsten wants to keep some of their old Swedish traditions alive in the new country, so she secretly plans a Saint Lucia celebration. But everything depends on a trip to town with Papa, and he's too busy to leave the farm. At last they go--and get caught in a terrible blizzard. It's up to Kirsten to keep herself and Papa safe through the night. When she finally gets home, the candles in the little cabin glow with a special holiday warmth.

I remember reading this book when I was in 4th or 5th grade.  My love for historical fiction started early, I guess.  I remember just thinking this series (American Girls) was the coolest thing ever because I could learn so much!  Plus, it was, in my mind in 4th grade, almost like the Little House series (which I loved) and therefore super cool.

The book explains St. Lucia Day to be start to the Christmas season, to be celebrated on the darkest day of the year (and my guess, thats why the girls wear a crown of candles).

I enjoyed this reread.  As an adult, I thought Kristen was a little whiny in the beginning, but as a kid, I don't remember feeling that way--in fact, I probably sympathized with Kristen!

Here are some other St. Lucia Day books that I found online (but where unable to find at the library):
*Lucia, Saint of Light by Katherine Bolger Hyde
*The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer
*Lucia and the Light by Phyllis Root
*Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydaker
*Christmas Around the World by Mary D. Lankford


Don't forget to head over to the Seasons Readings page to check out other books and reviews and to link up your own!


 

4 comments:

  1. St. Lucia is a Christian holiday, not exclusively Catholic holiday recognized by Anglican, Lutheran, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics of Scandinavian countries and by those of Scaninavian descent.

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  2. I concur with Naomi, and would even go so far as to say St. Lucia is more Lutheran. But maybe that's only because that's my tradition. :)

    Great review!

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  3. Thanks for letting me know. The beauty of Wikipedia is that information is so readily available, the bad thing about Wikipedia is that it's not always complete (or correct).

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  4. Wow!!! you providing good information about holidays. St Lucia holidays are popular among the nature lover and you can also plan your holidays to St Lucia to enjoy great flora and fauna and different species of migrating birds.

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Gold stars given to good comments.