Friday, February 18, 2022

2021 December: Celebrating Santa Lucia Day

The last week in Sweden was very hectic.  We took in a Santa Lucia concert at Storkyrka, the huge cathedral in Gamla Stan.  In Sweden, Santa Lucia is almost as big as Christmas, with every church, every school, and most homes doing their own version of Santa Lucia.

Santa Lucia Day is actually December 13, but it's celebrated for several days.  Lucia was a 4th century Christian martyr in Italy.  I'm not sure how she came to be celebrated in Scandinavian countries.  She is accompanied by girls dressed in white with red sashes (to represent her martyrdom) and boys dressed in white or with dunce-like caps and carrying stars.  Lucia has lighted candles on her head and every girl wants to be Lucia in her youth.

On our way to the Santa Lucia concert, we happened on a group of our missionaries singing Christmas carols on the steps of the Nobel Museum.

Now we're in the Storkyrka with Marko and Tamara.  I almost wasn't allowed in as there was a problem with my covid vaccine certificate.  It was a blessing in disguise because I hadn't noticed the problem and would definitely need to fix it before I could go home to Canada.  Thankfully the man let me in.  I hadn't remembered that I had other vaccine cards in my wallet that I could have shown him but he let me in anyway.

We're  waiting for the concert to begin.  Beautiful church!

We were only allowed photos and video during the final number, which was, of course, Santa Lucia.  The concert was amazing.  It was all a capella and the sweet voices filled the church with beautiful sounds.  The harmony was lovely.

Above: I recorded a bit of the final song, Santa Lucia.  You may be familiar with it.  LeRon learned it in his high school choir. 

Concert is over and people are heading out.  You had to have proof of a double vaccination to attend.

A senior missionary, Syster Johnson, with this year's Santa Lucia.  The candles have been blown out.  Many girls tell us that even though they cover their hair with a damp cloth before putting on the crown, the wax often drips down into their hair and it's a mess to clean up.

We're with Tamara and Marko and Santa Lucia.  Marko said this concert was very different from others they have attended other years.  This one excelled with gorgeous music.  He said that sometimes it's simply a play.  We all really enjoyed this concert.

Missionaries in our livingroom, singing the mission song so Elder Torrie could record it for the mission's future use.  Farewell to our wonderful grandsons: Elder Christenson, Elder Jensen, Elder Gilbert, Elder Hancock, Elder LaRose, Elder Densley, Elder Lewandoski, Elder Brown.

Our mission had a zoom devotional every Sunday evening from the last Sunday in November (the First Advent) to the 3rd Sunday in December just before Christmas (the 4th Advent).  Each Sunday, they lighted one of the Advent Candles.  On this 2nd Advent, the Assistants to the President -- Elders Hancock and LaRose, and Elder Densley who will take Elder Hancock's place when he goes home, and the Syster Training Leaders, Syster Capener and Syster Johnson -- surprised President & Syster Davis with a Christmas present from all the missionaries.

They knew that President & Syster Davis like to hike and bike so they gave them backpacks filled with fun items necessary for a hike.  Great idea!  Click on the picture so you can see some of the Santa Lucia costumes that the Elders are wearing.

At 7:30 a.m. on December 13, our doorbell rang and there was the Siebke family serenading us with a Santa Lucia song and treats.  Click to see the great Lucia costumes!

The Siebke family are dear friends.

President & Syster Davis became grandparents for the first time in October.  Now their whole family has come to be with them in Sweden for Christmas.  Cute baby!!

President Davis is my 3rd cousin, and his dad, Bob, is my 2nd cousin once removed.  We were so excited to meet.

2021 December 20.  Our last day in the mission was spent at President Davis's home with his family.

They gave us an Advent candle holder as a going away gift.  Here I am sitting between my new-found cousin, Bob, and my missionary companion, Elder Torrie.

Dinner with the Davis's.  What a treat.  And all of these people are my cousins!!  Who knew I would discover so many cousins by going to Sweden on a mission?

Here I am with my new found cousins, the Davis family.  See the bridge candles in the windows.  Merry Christmas!


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