St. Lucia celebration sheds light on darkest day of year

WOODLAND, Maine — The Swedish tradition of celebrating the year’s darkest day was honored at Woodland Consolidated School on Dec. 13. While the event formerly took place at New Sweden Consolidated School, the recent closure of that facility has brought the town’s students, and some its traditions, to Woodland. 

In Swedish culture, St. Lucia is a figure with light in her hair who appears on Dec. 13, the darkest day of the year. She comes with light in her hair, illuminating a commonly dark and dreary day with light and joy.

Woodland Principal Susie Schloeman thanked parents and guests for attending on Dec. 13, adding that the students involved were excited about their upcoming performance.

She thanked all involved for their help, particularly Karla Fisher, who baked 500 Pepparkakor cookies, something she has done for the last several St. Lucia events, as well as musicians Steve Boody and Jennifer Holmes for providing live musical accompaniment to the songs.

The gym went dark as the Lucia procession commenced, and Woodland Consolidated School student Kammie Fisher walked through the aisle to the stage in full traditional garb and a crown of candles. She was accompanied by several students, also in traditional regalia, all holding candles to light the way.

Students then told the audience about the event’s history, and how St. Lucia is meant to bring light and warmth on the year’s darkest, coldest day.

The gymnasium lights turned back on after the procession, and Pre-K students came out dressed in red to help deliver the Pepparkakor to guests. In Swedish tradition, if a wish is made while the cookie is cracked in the middle with a knuckle, it will come true if it breaks into three pieces.

With 500 cookies quickly delivered, a Christmas tree was brought out as students danced around it during the final song of the event: “Nu Ha Vi Ljus.”

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