Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

St. Lucia Day Remembrances

Outside it was dark and chilly, as I watched my little daughter, Mary, bringing up the rear of the procession and swinging her basket, trying to keep up with all the other young girls following behind the "Lucia Bride".

My daughter was only two and a half, and I'll never forget that December night twenty-three years ago, as our church first attempted what has now become tradition: our Annual St. Lucia Procession.
Two-and-a-half year old Mary,
 in her little white dress and red sash.
By the time Mary was about seven or eight, American Girl Dolls and their books were becoming more and more popular, and my daughter loved all the stories.  Of course, her favorite was about Kirsten, the Swedish girl.  Mary could hardly wait to be St. Lucia and wear a crown, like her Kirsten doll.

And the day finally came. Mary was beaming, as she took her turn portraying St. Lucia, wearing the crown of candles and leading the procession of girls in white around the church, with the choir singing in the background; she was fourteen.

Happy St. Lucia Day! I hope you make it a family tradition to celebrate - I found a tutorial for a cute paper Lucia crown (here), and you can make some Lussekatter and read St. Lucia's story...

Do you have a daughter who is interested in knowing why girls wear white dresses with red sashes, balance a crown of candles on their heads, and carry a platter of saffron buns on December 13th? And who exactly was this saintly Italian girl named Lucia, whose story the Scandinavians adopted? 

Katherine Bolger Hyde has done a wonderful job explaining the customs and the history behind St. Lucia Day, in her beautiful book, Lucia Saint of Light, illustrated by Daria Fisher.

St. Lucia Day can't be celebrated properly without "Lussekatter" - Swedish Saffron Buns! (There's a recipe at the end of Katherine Hyde's book.)  My daughter always helped me make them, and her Kirsten Doll even came with a tiny tray of mini Lussekatter. Today I'll be baking a batch with my three little goddaughters for our Church celebration this weekend.
Click here to see all the variations - St. Lucia buns can be made
in different designs.  One year we made a Lucia braided bread crown.
[Source: Mylittlenorway.com]

Back to the picture book...it follows two parallel stories: of a modern-day girl named Lucy, and the 4th-Century saint named Lucia.  The tales are interwoven as Lucy prepares to celebrate her "nameday".  Her mother explains to her the origins of the story of St. Lucia, the background behind the traditions of her celebration, and her association with Sweden.  At the end of the book, you'll find the "Santa Lucia" song (with words and music), her icon, verses from her Feastday Aposticha, and a recipe for St. Lucia Buns.

Detailed illustrations from the book.

Where to find the book: Go here, to Ancient Faith Publishing.  Scroll down and you'll see that Lucia, Saint of Light is also now available as an engaging 10-minute video! ($4.99). You can also look on Amazon, if the book is sold out on AFP.

Click HERE for more information about how to order the book and very well done video. Below is a short clip...

This is a blog hop, click HERE
to read other fun posts...
Thanks for letting me share some of our family memories and traditions with you on this special day, honoring a special girl.  And thank you to Heather, at Audrey Eclectic, for hosting this fun "blog procession" for St. Lucia Day 2012.


  1. Oh, this is wonderful, Wendy! Thanks so much for sharing your photos-- your daughter looks so lovely as both the little Lucia girl and the main Lucia girl! I also had Kirsten...I think she kicked off my love for all things Swedish! I love her Lucia outfit, I never had that one! So pretty....
    Thanks for joining the procession!

    1. Thanks for hosting it, Heather! I'm having fun perusing all the posts! :)

  2. This is probably my favorite post of the procession! I LOVE THIS!!! We saw a little girl in Lindsborg, KS with her Kirsten doll, full Lucia costume. My daughters were ready to chase her down, aside from their whole being shy thing. Your daughter looks so beautiful in each picture.

    1. Danzel - It was really a fun family tradition. I cherish the memories not only of my daughter, but of watching all her little friends move up in the procession each year until it was their turn be "St. Lucia"!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank YOU, Katherine, for the beautiful book you've given us all! :)

  4. What a great tradition! Your daughter made a lovely Lucia. Thanks mostly to Heather, I'm really enjoying learning so much about a part of my heritage that I've never explored. Nice to meet you! God Jul!

    1. Thank you, Holly! You should explore art of, Carl Larsson. You look so Swedish, you'd fit right into one of his paintings. :)

  5. I'm visiting from Audrey Eclectic. What a fabulous St. Lucia Day post! Your daughter was so beautiful - positively beaming. :) And thank you for sharing all that wonderful information about St. Lucia. I love learning the traditional holiday customs from other countries.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I remember your lovely post about Tasha Tudor from Heather's blog. Now I'll have to visit yours! :)