As Christmas nears in Sweden, its approach is heralded in early December with a nation-wide celebration of St Lucia Day. The celebration commemorates the sacrifice of a young Christian girl who was martyred for her faith in 304 A.D.
For many years, the RI Swedish Heritage Association has re-enacted the traditional Swedish St. Lucia festival. The event is considered by many to be the beginning of the Christmas seasonal celebration. The public is cordially invited.
The association will re-enact its traditional Swedish St. Lucia festival at St Luke’s church in East Greenwich at 4 p.m. on Dec. 8.
Tickets are $10 for adults and children 5-14 are $5. Younger children attend free of charge. A chorus of young women will sing traditional Swedish Christmas songs, children will perform a traditional Swedish skit and songs, and a Lucia will be chosen from among several candidates vying for the honor. Following the performance, a reception featuring traditional Swedish Christmas songs and Swedish refreshments will be provided for all.
As the story goes, Lucia brought food to persecuted Christians in Rome who were hiding in the city’s catacombs. She wore candles in her hair so her hands were free to carry food items. It is now celebrated by a girl dressed in a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles.
The RISHA Lucia festival is arranged and directed by Swedish born Astrid Drew.