St. Lucia Festival Set For Saturday In Axtell

The 34th annual Santa Lucia Festival will be held on Saturday, December 8 at the Bethany Lutheran Church, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bethany Lutheran is located two miles east and one and a half miles south of Axtell.
The program, presented through-out the morning, will feature devotion, children’s bell choir, vocal solos, groups, piano and other instrumental selections. Beth Asjornson-McCasland of Omaha will be a special guest vocalist.
One of Bethany’s high school girls will portray “St. Lucia” wearing the traditional white garment, red sash and crown of lights. Small girls and boys, dressed in Swedish costumes, will carry baskets of tiny red and white mints called “Polkagrisir,” distributing them to the guest. Christmas sweets, cookies, tiny rolls and coffee will be served.
Santa Lucia Day traditionally has had many reasons for being observed and has become a joyous celebration now associated with the Christmas season, with beautiful decorations, featuring Swedish items and candles.
The festival is free and open to the public to come and enjoy.
The Swedish Christmas celebration begins December 13, the feast day of St. bearer. Many girls in Sweden used to believe that St. Lucia could reveal their future on her day, so they prayed to her to let them know the names of their husbands-to-be.
St. Lucia – so we read – lived in Syracuse in Sicily, during the days of the Roman Empire. She gave her dowry to some Christians who had been persecuted for their faith. Then her angry fiance told authorities that she, too, was Christian – and Lucia died a martyr’s death.
The Swedish people admired her courage and generosity, and celebrated her fete day. It was long a custom for the eldest daughter to dress in white with a red sash to represent St. Lucia. On her head, she wore a crown with several candles. As soon as the first cock crowed, she went around the house, carrying coffee to each member of the family, and sang a special carol for the day.

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